This year’s Relay for Life of the Abingons raised $30,696 for the American Cancer Society as of Aug. 4, according to Kaitlyn Davis, event chairperson, but they’re not done yet.
The fundraiser is not over until Aug. 31. Anyone interested in helping the cuase can make donations online at www.relayforlife.org/paabington.
Relay for Life was a 16-hour-long event held at Abington Heights High School on June 8 and 9, with 313 volunteers participating in 43 teams.
“We would very much like to thank the community for all of their support for the event,” Davis said.
She specifically expressed gratitude to sponsors and donors LT Verrastro, Banko North, Gertude Hawk Chocolates, Gubbio’s, The Inne of the Abingtons, Olive Garden, Newsies, Fratelli’s, Travelworld, Rotary Club of Abington, Cornerstone, Tim Rowlands, Dr. Thomas Majernick, and First National Bank. “Special thanks” were offered to the Holmes Family, Reverend Virginia Miner, Greg Lucash, Abington Heights High School, Msgr. James McGarry and Our Lady of the Snows Church, and Fr. John Lapera and The Church of St. Gregory.
The most exciting thing about this year’s relay, according to Davis, was its status as the first all-youth Relay For Life in the country to become a Cancer Action Network event.
CAN is an affiliate program of the American Cancer Society. To become a CAN event, Davis said 100 participants were required to become members, a goal which was met two days before the event. The relay included a total of 130 CAN members and nine CAN teams.
“This was really exciting for us because it shows just how strongly everyone involved with our event feels about finishing the fight against cancer,” Davis said.
One of the best parts of this year’s relay, Davis said, was the new survivor ceremony. Cancer survivors participating in the event gathered near the stage with their caregivers and remaining participants lined the track and cheered them on as they walked a lap together, proceeding into the cafeteria for a dinner held in their honor.
“It was incredible to watch the participants cheer the survivors on and then race to the other side of the track to cheer for them some more,” said Davis. “The survivors are a huge part of why we are relaying — to celebrate their lives and their victory over this terrible disease. To see that everyone at the event understood that and wanted to celebrate with them and for them was heartwarming.”
She believes the event was a success because each of the three components of the motto, “Celebrate, Remember, Fight Back,” were displayed.
“When the sun set at the event, we ‘remembered’ by having our Luminaria Ceremony where we read the name of and lit a candle for all those in our lives who have lost their battle with cancer,” she said. “This ceremony is always incredibly emotional for so many, and each year we have enough candles to completely line the inside of the track.
“We clearly showed we are ready to ‘fight back’ by becoming the first youth CAN event in the country…It was clear to me this year that we have a whole generation of people who are ready to finish the fight against cancer.”