The Lion's Roar

Relay Season Is Here- An Overnight Journey

The Meaning of Relay For Life

Dena Lombardo, Editor-In-Chief

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As December comes to a close and January is fastly approaching, the volunteers of Relay For Life gather together the pieces to begin the process of planning the 18 hour-overnight journey. This year, Relay For Life took place June 10 to 11, 2017 at Middletown High School North, and will take place June 9 to 10 4 PM to 5:30 AM this year upcoming at the high school.

The American Cancer Society, sponsor of the event, strives to tell a story through the relay that depicts the life of a patient diagnosed with cancer.

It begins with a bright and exciting day, followed by a setting sun- symbolizing the time when a patient is diagnosed with cancer, according to their mission. The darkening day represents the cancer patient’s mind and feelings as he or she encounters the unknown. The night gets colder, so do the emotions of those involved, and the exhaustion continues until the sun rises.

The endless track represents: “there is no finish line until we find a cure.”

The nonprofit corporation has over 2.5 million dedicated volunteers nationwide that participate in events similar to the relay or participate in therapeutic conversations to alleviate patients’ distress.

There are several volunteers from Middletown High School North; among those is Mrs. Tara Mahoney and students within the school, both of which participate in school-ran volunteerism for the society and also do so on their own time.

In 2006, according to Mahoney, she began her fundraising participation when a student of her dance team, Maggie Gaal, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (a rare bone cancer).

“Maggie’s bravery, determination, spirit and relentless hope is why I began Relay for Life as a fundraising participant to honor Maggie’s fight and fight along with her and her family. Eleven years later I engrossed myself with the mission and support outreach of the American Cancer Society that I now serve as part of the Event Leadership Team as a co-event lead of Middletown” Mahoney said.

The extreme amount of planning that goes into the relay begins the minute the prior one ends and the group is always looking for more involvement from anyone willing to aid in the process.

“My goal is to have Middletown Township schools adopt the fight against cancer as a distinct initiative.”

Mahoney and students hosted a charity flea market open to all vendors at which all proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life.

As an Event Leadership Team, Mrs. Tara Mahoney and others meet at least once a month to strategize ways the program and resources under it can be made available to cancer patients and families throughout the community. Fundraising efforts and community services work together with local businesses to attempt to create a “powerhouse” against cancer.

“Cancer is scary… cancer doesn’t discriminate… it doesn’t matter how old you are, where you live, what your background is… and as long as people continue to hear the horrific words, ‘You have Cancer’…like my Maggie did 11 years ago… I will continue to fight and my hope is to inspire others to join my in the fight!”

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Relay Season Is Here- An Overnight Journey