There were hugs, some tears, and lots of support as members of the community came out Wednesday night on behalf of a loved one, a friend, or perhaps their own fight against cancer by signing up to take part in the 2012 Relay for Life.
The kick-off, held at the high school media center, gave the community an opportunity to sign-up and obtain information for this second annual relay which raises funds for the American Cancer Society. This year the overnight event will take place Saturday, June 2, into Sunday, June 3, at Depken athletic field.
The first-ever relay, last June, raised $68,000 for the American Cancer Society. Lillian Romano, who spearheaded that event is back again this year serving as chair along with high school teacher Amanda Kistner, co-chair.
As part of the kick-off event, a presentation was made by a representative of Cablevision's MSG Varsity/Power to Learn program to explain its Charity for Champions program. Tricia Kaminski, education account manager, presented a $1,000 check to Jessica Gaeta of the American Cancer Society.
Upon accepting the check, Gaeta said that anytime she receives a donation she thinks of the many things those funds can do to help in the fight against cancer—every dollar helps fund things such as a room at a care center or rides for patients to treatment. The thing she hopes for most, she said, is that one dollar of that donation will fund the petri dish a researcher will use to find the cure for cancer.
Kaminski then presented a check for $500 as seed money for this year’s Relay for Life event to Kistner and members of the National Honor Society for their continued support of American Cancer Society.
Assemblywoman Connie Wagner, who serves the 38th district, came out in support of the Heights relay. She told the audience that she lost her mother to cancer many years ago before there were the types of advanced treatments that exist today that would not gave been possible without the work of the American Cancer Society. Wagner got a huge cheer from the audience when she pledged to walk along with them on June 2.
Some members of the audience shared their own stories of how cancer touched their lives. Heights resident Donna Mikulka survived breast cancer and said she knows she is lucky to be here and is doing fine now. Bob Schwalb shared his story of what it was like supporting his wife Cindy when she was battling cancer.
A touching remembrance ceremony brought out a few tears as participants lit glowsticks in memory of a parent, spouse, child, friend or neighbor who lost his or her battle against cancer.
There is still plenty of time to sign up to participate by heading to the Relay for Life website to make a donation, sign up or join a team.
The next team captain meeting will be on March 12 at the high school media center.