It was one of the best fundraising events to date. In the neighborhood that was on one hand solemn and filled with emotions, tears, and the remembrances of those who lost their battle against cancer and on the other hand an event that inspired and was filled with hope and triumph.
Over 180 local residents participated in East Boston’s first annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life last year–an all night event held on a Friday and Saturday night back in June at the East Boston Stadium.
Now, the Relay for Life committee is gearing up for a second event planned for this summer and will kick off the organizing efforts on Thursday, February 25 at 7 p.m. at the Orient Heights Yacht Club.
“The Relay is an opportunity to come together as a community to raise funds and cultivate awareness on cancer,” said committee member Celeste Myers. “It is an overnight event that includes teams of walkers who circle the track all through the night in order to raise funds based on pledges. The event infrastructure is unique in that the teams erect a ‘tent-city’ with each tent’s theme and activities reflecting the personalities of their hosting team.”
Myers reminded residents of the inspirational moments throughout the event last year that include the kick-off with a cancer survivor lap, the emotion evoking luminary ceremony and the countless opportunities to get to know and learn the stories of members of our community.
“The goal of next week’s event is to welcome team captains, folks that are considering being team captains as well as cancer survivors and care takers,” said Myers.
Last year, with the goal was to raise $25,000, walkers and their relay teams exceed that goal and raised over $30,000 for the American Cancer Society.
When the Cancer Survivors Lap took place it featured more than 25 cancer survivors, including former Senate President Robert Travaglini and Albert ‘Buddy’ Mangini, taking a victory lap around the track.
There were more than 20 Relay teams taking turns walking or running around the track throughout the night.
But the highlight of the event was the somewhat haunting and very emotional Luminary Ceremony, which honored cancer survivors and those who were lost to the disease. Luminary lined the track and lit the way throughout the night, reminding participants of the incredible importance of their contributions to the event.
The first Eastie Relay for Life provided cancer survivors, their loved ones and caregivers and others, who wished to celebrate, remember and fight back against the disease, with an opportunity to come together and share in the message of hope.
“Since this was the first Relay for Life event in our community, residents were given the opportunity to learn what Relay for Life is all about and it was a hit,” said Tiffany LaCascia, a member of the committee. “The residents of East Boston really showed their spirit this weekend. Many cancer survivors also showed up to participate as well.”
LaCascia said it was very emotional for all who attended.
Each year the Relay for Life commemorates Dr. Gordy Klatt’s 83-mile journey around a Tacoma, Washington, and athletic track. There, through walking and running he raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, established an event that has made a difference in the lives of countless people he has never met. Through Klatt’s determination twenty-five years ago, Relay for Life has become the American Cancer Society’s largest signature activity as well as the most successful national fundraiser.
Nearly 100 Relay for Life events are planned in Massachusetts for 2010. Dollars raised during Relay for Life help support the Society in saving more lives and creating more birthdays by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back against cancer. Society programs that help save more lives include Reach to Recovery, providing one-on-one support for breast cancer patients; and Road to Recovery, which offers free transportation for patients to and from their treatments. Relay for Life also helps maintain the American Cancer Society’s toll-free 24-hour cancer information line, 1-800-227-2345.