For The Express
JERSEY SHORE - The community came-out in full force once again last weekend to support their ninth annual Relay For Life. "Disney" was the theme for the 24-hour event, hosted again this year by the J. S. School District at the senior high school's Soccer/Track and Field Complex.
Thirty-one teams signed-up to participate this year. The goal was to raise $86,000 according to co-chair, Carol Yost. She stated the goal total looks very favorable with fundraising continuing until August.
At top, cancer survivors take place in the Survivor’s lap. Above, Committee chairpersons don their Mickey Mouse ears for the event’s Disney theme. From left, Ken Dougherty, Diana Combs, Deb Heydrick, Jeff Welshans, Darla Doebler, and Kim Schweikart.
Jersey Shore Senior High team “Up, Up and Away”. Pictured: From left, Carly Oberly, Zak Herman, Seth Stropp, Amanda Grinnell, and Clayton Newton. Below, the survivors and caregivers take a victory lap around the track.
Twenty-three on-site fundraising booths lined the track with printed T-shirts, RFL items, Chinese auctions, raffles, games, face paintings and of course, lots of delicious food.
The Survivor Ceremony was sponsored by the Jersey Shore Hospital and included four speakers along with a dinner for survivors and their caretakers.
Judi Barnett spoke of her experiences with cancer and emphasized that everyday we live is a miracle and we shouldn't wait for a cancer scare to recognize that fact.
She praised her oncology doctors and nurses for their expertise and compassion.
"The nurses told me that I can do this and everything was going to be okay," Barnett stated, adding that the disease taught her how to accept help from others and that people were amazing with their support and gift of hope.
"Our mission on earth is to be here for each other," Barnett continued. "Sometimes you are the one doing the giving and sometimes you are on the receiving end."
The second survivor speaker of the evening was Rodney Lynn, co-chair from Danville's Relay For Life.
"I come from a long line of cancer survivors," Lynn began "And I have been a caregiver for my wife for 19 years."
He spoke of five family members with cancer and his own battle with lymphoma, one of the four major types of cancer.
Lynn is now cancer free and stated that his family members were all "fighters."
"I am not going to quit until we beat this terrible disease," Lynn concluded.
This year's highlights included Donny Breon riding his bicycle around the track four and a half hours on behalf of pancreatic cancer, and Kenny and Penny Dean riding their bicycles the complete length of the Rails to Trails and back, a trek totaling 125 miles to which the exhausted couple proclaimed, "It was awesome!"
The winners of the Prince and Princess contest were little Prince Ty McCloskey raising $140 and little Princess Oceann Green raising $170.00.
"We had a lot of luminaries purchased this year and 856 bags lined the field," Luminaria Chairperson, Diana Combs stated, adding that the boy scouts Troup 115 light the luminaries and pick-up the bags on Saturday morning.
"I have wonderful helpers; I couldn't do this without them," Combs stated, adding that people, especially young students, were willing to help place the luminaries around the track.
According to Ellen Bokeko of the American Cancer Society, select Relay For Life events in our community are offering the unique opportunity to participate first-hand in a landmark new study, the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3).
The American Cancer Society will be enrolling people into CPS-3, a long-term study that will help researchers better identify the lifestyle, environmental, and genetic factors that cause or prevent cancer.
The study will follow 20 to 30 participants over the next 20 to 30 years. Eligibility requirements are: participants must be 30-65 years of age and never had cancer before, Bokeko stated.
For more information about CPS-3 and how you can participate, please call Ellen Bokeko at ACS Williamsport Office 326-4149 ext. 3109 or visit www.cancer.org/cps3 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call the ACS at 1-888-604-5888.