On the 20th of May, the West Orange Relay For Life gathered schools, friends, families, survivors, teams and individuals to walk the track of West Orange High School sending a strong message against cancer.
The event will last from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., and there are expected many participants and local volunteers to celebrate cancer survivors and to remember those who lost the battle. Plus, people hope that this event will be a call to take action to help many other people that suffer from cancer.
The activities of this year’s event will be Connect Four and giant Jenga games, designed for kids, and tents on the upper field so that the participants will be able to stay together during the entire night. Every penny that will be raised will go to the American Cancer Society to help the ongoing cancer research. An amount of more than $27,000 has already been raised from 305 participants and 33 teams.
But what counts the most are the stories of the survivors that fought back the disease. Their stories make the event one of the most popular, emotional and unique fundraisers of the year. The Relay will start at seven p.m. and will include speeches from survivors and the Survivor and Caregiver Laps.
According to Lisa Renwick, the organizer of the event, the donation period lasts until the 31st of August, so everyone is encouraged to bring their contribution to raise funds.
Survivor David DeRonde has one of the most inspiring stories after he was diagnosed in 2001 with advanced Stage 3 colorectal cancer. According to him, he already had symptoms for more than a year but still, he did not pay a visit to the doctor during that time. Therefore, he advised people to see their doctors on a regular basis.
David’s journey was challenging and long because he had to have surgery to remove the tumor first and then, he had to bear with a month of radiation and twelve rounds of chemo. However, he confessed that his daughter Ashley played a significant role, as she joined in 2012 the Relay For Life. She also encouraged him to attend the event and to raise money to find a cure hopefully someday.
He felt blessed after a five-year exhausting fight out of which he broke free of cancer. His story and many others are the ones that keep inspiring people who will continue bringing their contribution to the Relay For Life event.