Hope. Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.
Every step taken on the track at this weekend symbolized all of the above. The shared goal among those who took part in the Relay for Life is the hope that one day no one will ever have to say the words "I have cancer" ever again.
People came together under a beautiful night sky this weekend to walk in the second annual Relay for Life, in support of the American Cancer Society, helping it get closer to finding a cure.
Arm in arm or hand in hand, people walked together in memory of loved ones, in support of someone fighting the disease, or in celebration of the fact that people truly can fight cancer and win.
As one speaker who shared a story about his mother's survival, said, "cancer should fear us."
There were hugs, tears and smiles as the survivors, proudly wearing their medals and purple survivor shirts, took that first lap around the track.
Relay participants were first welcomed by event chairperson Lillian Romano, Jessica Gaeta of the American Cancer Society and Mayor Rose Heck, who presented the committee with a proclamation.
"Being diagnosed with leukemia has completely changed my perspective on life, for the better," said Samantha Sproviero, a high school senior who was diagnosed with leukemia six months ago.
To speak of how difficult the last six months have been would be stating the obvious, she said. Instead she’s a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, even bad things, she said telling the audience that her experience has reminded her of what’s most important in life – her family and friends.
The way to fight this is to “laugh, smile and take it day by day,” she advised.
After 10 p.m. the stadium lights were turned off and the track was lit only by the paper lumanaria bags, each one personalized with a message in honor of someone who is battling the disease or in memory of a loved one.
After hearing stories from caregivers, those who have been there for a loved one battling the disease, everyone took part in a silent walk around the track in memory of those who lost their battle.
Throughout the night there were activities that walkers could take part in and games for the children including a bounce house. Many camped out in tents at the Little League field while others stayed at the track overnight waiting to take part in the closing ceremony Sunday morning.
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