On Friday 8-June- until Saturday Morning 9-June the football field in Ridgefield Park hosted the overnight event Relay for Life 2012. A 12-hour celebration of people coming together to raise money for the fight against caner. A gathering of Survivors , their families & friends, caregivers, & supporters, joining as one for a common goal. Relay for Life started as a solo Doctor in Tacoma Washington had an idea to raise money , and awareness, for some of the patients under his care. Dr. Gordy Klatt ran for 24- hours around the local University track. For a small donation people would share the track with Dr. Klatt for 30 minutes. $27,000 were raised in that on day. With the help of Pat Flynn a relay type event was started as teams formed to raise as a group and take turns around the track. Today over 5,000 different events in more the 20 countries have formed to add to the fight against cancer.
This was the third year in Ridgefield Park, and is chaired by survivor Joanne Feehan along with her daughter Pamela. Being a Survivor of 5 years Ms. Feehan wanted to find a way to help others in need. Even with having disappointments of "bad days", and the joy of "good days" she found the strength to carry on with her family. Given another chance at living Ms. Feehan had the idea to show the members of local communities they are not alone with this disease. Slowly growing over the years at 30 different teams were represented at this years event. Some has a large team, such as "The Hawaiian Beach Bums" who attained gold star status with their fund raising. They had five generations of families members in attendance in support of Aunt, Uncle, and Grandparents stricken with cancer. Another was " Team Hawaii" a different group, but sharing the same goal of helping and sharing. With a Sister, and Mother they are there to share the strength of the group and bring help to others. There is also Johnathan Cottone, who has both parents as Survivors. Mr. Cottone was apart of a Relay in college then formed " All for One" after graduation.
There were a number of High School teams that may not have a direct connection to a cancer Survivor, and have a sense of community, and the want to help others. One was " Pinky Promise" with another being
" I (heart) Boobies" both teams using there time, and energy to help others.
The evening began with a welcome from both Joanne, & Pamela Feehan, thanking all the teams for coming , and all the hard work they have done through out the pass year. One Survivor was ask to share her story, that was Joyce. Having to fight off five different cancers in nine years was please to announce she is a Survivor who is in Total Remission since Oct. of 2011. One of her keys to her success was a chance to see her Grandchildren grow up. Along with a spirit of just wanting to " kick cancer ass" and move on with living. Then metals were giving out to those Survivors who were in attendance. The honour of the first lap on the track laid -out was the Survivors, followed by families and caregivers, then any members of the Medical Profession who were there, then all the teams who came.
At about ten o'clock the lights in the Stadium were turned off to do the Luminaria Ceremony were team, and individuals who sponsored a bag had them lite around the track. In someways to show that no matter how dark one may feel with the disease there will always be light to help them around. In the centre of the track was a single table with an empty seat waiting to welcome the next Survivor. On the table was a rose showing the love from others they have. A plate with lemon, for the bitterness of there situation, and salt, for tears that have been shed. and final an upside glass to remember all those who have not been able to Survive.
In talking to Ms. Feehan she wanted to convey the idea that this is not just and end to a year long event. She is proud that her group main goal is to help find a cure for cancer, but to also help the community in other ways. Her group donates to other less fortunate around the area. Thanksgiving dinners are donated to those in need, as well as clothing and other support when asked. Ms. Feehan wants to include the surrounding towns of Bogota, Little Ferry, Leonia, and Teaneck to join in the fight. One example was the event at Hair & Nail Excellence. A small step to grow, and expand in the area. This is intended not only bring in more teams, but to help to reach out to others that may be dealing with cancer and to get strenght from fellow Survivors.
To learn more about this, and others, Relay for Life events please go to www.relayforlife.org. Or to start a team for next years Relay for Life event. Or any other type of actives that could be used as a fund raiser please contact Ms. Megan Tomkins at: email@example.com
|Luminaria line the walking track.|
|Tiffany Roe & Anthony setting up a Luminaria for his Grandmother|
|Team I (heart) Boobies|
|Team Hawaiian Beach Bums|
|Joananna Seiler & Ellen Wegehaupt of team NJ-Sunshine|
|Other Teams tents set-up on the field.|
|Joanne Feehan welcoming all the teams ,and telling her own Survival story.|
|Joyce tell her Survival story|
|Joanne Feehan leading the Survivors lap.|
|Survivors with family and other team members|
|Mayor Fosdick talking with Frank Mascia of he American Cancer Society.|
|Gianna Salvato adding music.|
|Philpp Gronko (L) Greg Behand & John Eppolito also adding music|
|The Luminaria walk|
|Walkers continuing into the night.|
|A table set for those who will be remembered over looking the walkers.|
|Some of the Luminaria dedicated to Survivors & to remembers those who had not.|
|Karina Munoz of the Honour Art Society with the Luminaria she made.|