The Broad Channel Athletic Field was filled with Rockaway community members on May 16 until May 17, honoring cancer patients, cancer survivors, including people who lost the battle against the disease. The Relay for Life was the organization responsible for the all-night event, has raised $60,156 before the gathering. To date, it has raised a total of $79,558 for the American Cancer Society.
The teams gathered in the field before 6 in the evening, setting up their campus in the field inside the track. The fundraising event occurred until 6 in the morning the following day. Amongst the co-leaders of the fundraising event, Sabrina Gross said the 12 hours were supposed to symbolize the journey of cancer patients through their treatments.
After the 12-hour event, the participants felt exhausted, feeling like they could not go on; however, there was hope because there is a new day. That is exactly what they’re trying to symbolize, Gross said. Many of the teams were first-timers, relaying for the cancer society, and was the first time held in Broad Channel. The very last Relay for Life held in Rockaway was held before Hurricane Sandy.
Relay for Life manager Ben Messner said that the event really looked like that, saying that he has managed the even in 5 boroughs in the city, thus, making it the first time for many teams was surely unbelievable. About 350 people participated in the event, representing the demographics of the whole community, although he admitted that not all does that and participates.
The night’s itinerary was carefully scheduled as activities went every hour from the start, beginning with a special ceremony, and then followed by a unity lap, wherein attendees walked a lap around the track together. There was also a dance performance, story time, Zumba, movie time, and a Luminaria ceremony, wherein special candles were lit for those who passed away from cancer. The closing ceremony was an acoustic performance, considered as a “fight back” closing remarks.
Throughout the entire event, there was a mix of sadness and hope among the attendees. Meanwhile, some teams were honoring people who lost their battle with cancer recently.
Kelly Magill was one of the attendees and imparting for Coleen’s Crew, who was remembering her sister who unfortunately passed away of ovarian cancer. Magill said the event was sad, happy, and bittersweet all at the same time.
She also added that it was a very good feeling coming out, raising awareness and disseminating information for a cause. The event also proved that many people are getting affected and were affected by the chronic disease.
In order to continue the fundraising project at Relay for Life, Coleen’s Crew created and marketed handmade wreaths with seashell designs. They sold the items at $2 each.
The Relay for Life will continue disseminating information and raising awareness throughout the city and the state, and perhaps expanding their journey to other cities in the country as cancer has certainly affected the lives of millions of individuals countrywide.