By Matt Youngfrau
MONTICELLO June 4, 2002 Each year, more and more people are affected by cancer. But each year, more strides are made to find a cure for cancer. Yet to do research to find a cure, money must be raised.
So every year, the American Cancer Society conducts the Relay for Life. In 1985 in Tacoma, Washington, Dr. Gordon Klatt walked around the track at the University of Pugent Sound for 24 hours and raised more than $27,000. Since then, over 2,700 communities have participated in the annual Relay for Life.
Sullivan County has been involved for six years. Over the last five years, Sullivan County participants have raised more than $98,000.
This year's event took place on Saturday, June 1 and Sunday, June 2 at the Town of Thompson Park near Monticello. Saturday's event saw 500 participants, 21 teams, and 75 survivors raise $30,000.
"This is a great event," commented cancer survivor and Sullivan County Community College professor Dr. Marie Henry. "This does bring people together. It shows what people can do when they work together."
Opening ceremonies kicked off at noon on Saturday. Proclamations were read from the Town of Thompson, the Town of Liberty, and Sullivan County. Thompson Supervisor Tony Cellini called it an "honor" for Thompson to host the event.
This year's grand marshall was three-year-old Chase Molinari of Roscoe. Molinari, with the help of last year's grand marshall, eight-year-old Kyle DeCotes (also of Roscoe), cut the ribbon to start the event. The two led cancer survivors like themselves on the first lap. While they walked, organizers read off their names.
"I can't believe that so many people went through the same thing I went through," remarked ten-year cancer survivor and Sullivan County Sheriffs Department Deputy and DARE Officer Luis Alvarez. "It really does change your perspective of life."
Besides the relays, there was live entertainment that featured Eddie and Donna Lewis, the Dallas Fisher Band, and the No U Turn Band. Candy and raffles were sold to raise money as the participants enjoyed themselves and raised money for a good cause.
Organizers said they were happy with the weekend's proceeds. Naturally, they hope to top that next year.