Relay Raises Cancer Awareness

By: Philip Stewart
By: Philip Stewart

May 13, 2006

The 12th annual Relay for Life was held over the weekend at Monticello High School. It was one of more than 3,000 across the country.

It started this Saturday morning at 8, and ran through the night until 8 on Sunday morning. It was to raise money for, cancer, a disease that affects many people and their families.

"Today is celebrating life," said cancer-survivor and honorary chairperson, Eileen Fogarty.

Fogarty has a lot to celebrate. She is unfortunately all too familiar with cancer.

"It started with Hodgkin's Disease when I was 23 years of age," she explained.

That was just the beginning. She has had the disease five times, but is proud to say she's the area's longest living cancer survivor.

"We're raising awareness of cancer, raising money for the cancer, and having a fun day," she added.

The relay runs for a full 24 hours and there were some 90 teams at the track Saturday.

"Each team is between eight and 15 people," explained Peadar Little, a Relay for Life committee member. "And throughout the 24 hours, the teams divide the time between themselves and get out on the track."

That means someone from every team is always walking. The money raised by those teams goes to a great cause: cancer research.

"The American cancer society also takes care to make sure that all different kinds of cancers are researched," said Little.

Organizers also said by taking part in the relay, walkers honored cancer survivors, and payed tribute to the lives that have been lost to the disease. They also said that awareness is key.

"Cancer, unfortunately, is non-discriminatory. It doesn't matter what your race is, your religion is, or what your age is or what your sex is," said Little.

But Saturday, as Fogarty pointed out, was also about celebrating life.

"I am cancer free as of today, and hope to be for many more years," she said.

She also had some advice. Fogarty said start getting cancer screenings at a young age, and get them often. She say early detection is essential to beating the disease.

In recent years the local Relay for Life has raised almost $300,000 for the American Cancer Society.

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