Annual relay fundraiser supports cancer patients, families

Khrystyna Stets, Staff Writer

  Relay For Life is a community-based fundraiser specifically for The American Cancer Society, which holds annual events nationwide to support cancer patients, families, and the ones who have passed from it.

  In 2017 alone, Relay For Life provided medical treatments for over 200,000 cancer patients and gave free lodging for over 25,000 cancer patients and their caregivers. This year’s Farmington Valley relay event was held May 18.

  “Relay is an event that gives everyone in the community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have or are battling cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease,” Farmington Relay For Life Coordinator Dr. Harvey Dutil said.

 For this fundraiser, there are options to create a team consisting of students and/or make a family or business-oriented team. It is required for each team to produce and host a personal fundraiser such as bake sales, car washes, lemonade stands, etc., in order to raise money. Participating schools arrange an informational meeting before the fundraiser initiates and plans for the event.   

  “The experience was really emotionally touching and at the same time fun because we held many bake sales and we held a cut-a-thon that raised money. We also learned about the challenges and difficulties of living with cancer,” freshman Katherine Rozhek said.

  The Farmington Valley hosts the event annually, dedicating a weekend for all teams to meet up and honor cancer survivors and remember the people that have passed away. During this day, there are food vendors, ceremonies, and activities.

  There were several differences for this year’s relay. The new location offered more parking and a track for the expanded activities. The new Caregiver Island recognized caregivers and their impact on the cancer patient’s journeys.

 One of this year’s teams, the Madagarcure team, raised $2,500, while last year they raised over $7,000. As of today, the Relay for Farmington Valley has raised $580,000. Last year, of the 3,000 Relays in the United States, Connecticut was fourth.

  “I know there are a lot of worthy causes to support, but I think participating in an event that helps save lives from cancer is about as worthy as it gets” team captain sophomore Joey Guglielmo said.

At the end of the day, the organization held a silent walk to honor cancer patients who have passed. Families can buy a torch/luminary bag that is placed around the polo grounds, and participants can stay in a tent with their fellow teammates overnight around the new site on New Britain Avenue.