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Democrat Photo by Ted Waddell

CANCER SURVIVORS KYLE DeCotes, 7 (left), and Chase Molinari, 2 (in the arms of his mom, Carrie), cut the ribbon starting the Relay for Life at Somerville Field in Monticello on Friday.

Hundreds Brave Weather
To Walk, Run for Life

By Ted Waddell
MONTICELLO — June 8, 2001 – Meet a few of the real survivors.
Not the wannabes who parade before the cameras on those “reality” TV shows.
Starting at 6 p.m. last Friday and lasting through a rain-filled night until 7 a.m. the next morning, more than 500 people, including 50 cancer survivors, turned out at Kenneth H. Somerville Memorial Field in Monticello to take turns walking or running, relay-style, in an effort to fight cancer in Sullivan County.
This year, 27 teams of about 10-15 people camped out overnight and circled the track in relays during the 5th annual local edition of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.
Two-year-old Chase Molinari of Roscoe was all bundled up against the inclement weather as his parents, Keith and Carrie, wheeled the young cancer survivor around the track during the Cancer Survivors Lap.
“He just finished up his last chemo treatment and was fitted with a prosthesis,” said Keith Molinari. “Just being here tonight is indescribable. We didn’t know where we were going to be a year ago.”
“It was very emotional for us walking that lap, knowing that we just finished the last round of his chemo and knowing he’s on the other side now, going for the cure,” added Carrie Molinari.
Chase was diagnosed with cancer in May 2000 and underwent 17 courses of chemotherapy in NYC.
Kyle DeCotes, the son of Todd and Cecilia DeCotes of Roscoe, is an eight-year-old cancer survivor. He’s been a survivor for four years, after being diagnosed with a rare form of lymphoma. Kyle served as grand marshall for the 2001 Relay For Life.
The youngster endured 108 weeks of chemo to put the disease into remission.
“It scared me, but I’m over it,” said Kyle DeCotes.
“He was just amazing,” said his mother. “His spirit really kept the whole family going. . . . It was a long haul, but we made it. We had a lot of support.”
Ann Marie O’Connor of Jeffersonville is a 33-year-old cancer survivor. A few years ago, she saw a column by Ann Landers that sums up her feelings about battling the illness.
At the Relay For Life, she displayed a copy of the column in the windshield of her van.
“Cancer cannot cripple love, shatter hope, corrode faith, destroy peace, kill friendship, suppress memories, silence courage, invade the soul, steal eternal life or conquer the spirit,” read the hand-lettered sign.
Asked what being a survivor meant to her, O’Connor pointed to the poster and said, “That’s it.”
Ron Call of Forestburgh turns 61 next month. Last year, Call found out he had rectal cancer, and after five hours and 35 minutes of surgery and endless rounds of chemo, one of the founders of the Catskill Cruisers is on the road to recovery.
“It’s been a tough year, but everything seems to be okay now,” he said, moments before setting off on the Survivors Lap.
After it was all over, all teams and their participants lined the track to walk the final lap of the Relay For Life together.
According to 2001 Relay For Life committee co-chairs Pamela Bossert and Jackie France, the idea for relays began in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash. when Dr. Gordon Klatt ran and walked solo around the track at the University of Puget Sound for 24 hours, raising more than $27,000 to fight cancer.
What started as one man’s dream grew into the American Cancer Society’s nationwide signature event. Today, Relays for Life take place in more than 2,700 communities across the United States. Last year, the events raised $169 million and involved 350,000 survivors and 1.75 million participants. In the last five years, the local Relay For Life has raised about $90,000.
According to Liz Roden, media relations specialist with the American Cancer Society’s Eastern Division, the money raised during the local overnight community event will be used to fund research, education, advocacy and patient services in Sullivan County.
The American Cancer Society is a nationwide community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives and diminishing suffering.
For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit the society’s website at

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