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Commentary: Rainy Relay Raises $115KBy Susan Bush
12:00AM / Sunday, May 21, 2006
The rain was miserable enough.
|Donna Briggs, cancer survivor and co-chairwoman of the May 19-20 Relay For Life
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Early morning May 20 delivered an oh-so-brief dry spell that might have offered some comfort to the numerous Relay For Life participants but for another nuisance, a brisk cold wind that swept across Noel Field and sliced through sweatshirts, rain gear, and blankets.
Melanie Rancourt of Clarksburg smiled as she helped with a 6 a.m. "Bingo and Breakfast" diversion held in conjunction with a children's carnival being held alongside the relay. Carnival revenues were donated to the event.
"Ok, it's cold," she said as she wrapped her fingers around a warm paper cup filled with hot coffee. "But hey, at least it's not raining."
The first-ever Northern Berkshire Relay for Life began at 6 p.m. May 19 with a survivor lap and at 7 p.m., a lap dedicated to caregivers was announced. Teams with names such as "Makenzie's Angels," "Joanie's Angels," "Tanya's Tiny Bubbles," and "Spanky's Gang" put their members on the track after the dedicated laps were completed, and the walk was on.
Northern Berkshire Relay For Life Co-chairwoman Donna Blair
Despite the downright nasty weather, members of 55 relay teams paced around and around the field's walking track and at the conclusion of the overnight event, $115,000 was raised. Relay revenues are earmarked for the American Cancer Society and the society's research programs focused on cancer cures.
As predicted by event coordinator Mary Robert and co-chairwomen Donna Blair and Donna Briggs, Relay For Life raised more than money; the event raised spirits and offered hope to those who battle cancer and those who watch the fight.
And there were tears for those who will never walk a survivor lap.
Cancer erases the socio-economics of life. No income status or social standing serves as a barrier between the numerous forms cancer takes and the people it strikes. Age, ethnicity, gender; cancer respects none of these. Cancer, with its' cruelties and indignities, can be the factor that links a four-year-old child with a college president.
We know there are valid reasons for hope; each and every cancer survivor is living proof that the disease can't extinguish every life it touches.
Relay coordinator Mary Robert
Survivors are living luminaries lighting the way for those following along on the path of treatment.
The world needs more survivors and the world needs cures. Cancers can affect all that is human, from breast to bladder, from lung to liver, from brain to blood. Cancers can be gender specific, with testicular and prostate cancers impacting men and uterine, ovarian, and cervical cancers striking women. Finding one universal cure for all cancers is highly unlikely; it is far more likely that different cancers will require different cures.
Different cures require varied research strategies and varied research strategies cost money. Lots of it.
It couldn't have been easy to parade around a walking track as rain pelted the body and wind slapped the face.
North Adams Mayor John Barrett III spoke during the relay.
It certainly wasn't easy to find slumber in sleeping bags or cots surrounded by saturated, dank earth. It was probably difficult to shed the warmth of quilted down or wool blankets to navigate a relay lap at 3 a.m..
But Northern Berkshire folk rise to most occasions and the weekend relay was no exception.
A Central and Southern Berkshire Relay for Life is scheduled for June 16-17 at Burbank Park on Onota Lake in Pittsfield. Details about the event are available by calling 413-734-6000 or by selecting a "Relay For Life" icon located on the www.iberkshires.com homepage.
At far right is MCLA President Mary K. Grant, who was joined by Stephanie Frost and Josh Mendel.Mendel and Frost are staff members of the college admissions office. Grant spoke during the relay.
Please plan to participate. Cures are out there, and they can be found.
We must be willing to support the search, one step at a time.
Susan Bush may be reached via e-mail at email@example.com or at 802-823-9367.
|I wore many hats at this first ever Relay in North Adams: Chair ~ Team Development, Co-Chair ~ Luminaria/Tikki Sales; Tri-Captain of Makenzie's Angels and mother of Makenzie (my 7 year old daughter who is a 5 1/2 year CANCER SURVIVOR). This was our 5th Relay and I want to say it was the BEST one we have been at! It was a priviledge being part of the planning ~ everyone helped make this event a success! |
KUDOS to our team who not only collected over $8000 but also went over and above helping out with folding t-shirts, writing out luminaria labels, putting sand in the bags, getting them on the track, fundraising, and so much more!
To all the Survivors ~ what a beautiful blessing God placed in the sky during the survivor lap ~ a reminder of how special you all are.
A special message to Makenzie ~ "We Love You" and congratulations marking another great Relay for you!
This relay has made such an impact to so many people you can bet on it being even better next year!
~ Tammy Wright
|from: Tammy Wright||on: 05-22 00:00:00-2006|