The Millstone Times June 2021
Chasing a Brighter Future With Relay for Life By Bianca Battaglia
Every year, thousands of communities around the world participate in the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life event, which raises money in support of cancer research and provides cancer patients with ac- cess to resources during their treatment. Almost ev- eryone has been affected by cancer in some way, and the Relay for Life event unites communities in the fight against cancer. On May 22-23, the New Egypt chapter held their an- nual Relay for Life event. In previous years, the event takes place at the New Egypt High School, and is typi- cally comprised of a survivor dinner, followed by a cer- emonial first lap around the track by survivors, mark- ing the official start of the event. Later in the event, a luminary ceremony takes place, whereby a candlelight vigil is held in celebration of cancer survivors and in remembrance of those who have passed. The event runs throughout the night, because cancer never sleeps. As such, the Relay for Life team members prepare camp- sites and participate in games such as frisbee, musical chairs, and sack races, while entertained by musicians, magicians, and comedians.
However, due to Covid-19 restrictions, this year’s Re- lay for Life was primarily virtual. The event was Hawai- ian-themed, and teams boasted clever names such as “Hula for Hope” and “Re-Lei For a Cure.” Teams con- ducted virtual fundraisers, strategically posting flyers and social media announcements, and partnering with local stores to offer coupons and encourage donations. Additionally, a drive-thru luminary ceremony replaced the candlelight vigil. Participants decorated signs in honor and in memory of their loved ones affected by cancer, which were displayed along Evergreen Road in New Egypt to be viewed in a safe and socially-distanced manner. This display allowed for the Relay for Life mis- sion to become more integrated into the community, as many passersby stopped by to demonstrate their support.
College student Victoria Grochowski of New Egypt spearheaded the Relay for Life leadership committee—which included Julia Rice, Reagan Joiner, Cas- sie Lykes, Marisa Foy, Emme Lohkamp, Ava Pavljuk, and Patty Meyer—in the organization of the event. Planning commenced in October 2020, in which the leadership team coordinated with the township, schools, and local businesses to heighten awareness and plan the logistics of the event. Grochowski, who has served as the event leader for the past four years, was motivated to do so to honor both of her grandmothers. According to Grochowski, she “re- lays” because it is incredibly rewarding “to see the smiles on the survivors' faces.” Despite the pandemic restrictions, 2021’s Relay for Life of New Egypt was a success. With over sixty participants—hailing from the Millstone, Allentown, and New Egypt communities—the event raised an estimated $6,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society. Ultimately, the Relay for Life event is one of reflection, remembrance, celebration, and camaraderie, bringing the greater community together for a laudable goal. If you would like to participate in next year’s Relay for Life of New Egypt, contact Victoria Grochowski (firstname.lastname@example.org) or American Cancer Society staff partner Tracy Depano (email@example.com).
46 The Millstone Times
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