SOMERS, N.Y. More than 1,000 eager and festive people assembled on the grounds of the Somers Middle School Friday evening to begin a 12-hour marathon for the benefit of the American Cancer Society.
Fifty-two teams of volunteers, most dressed in matching outfits, spent the night walking the track that surrounded a bazaar of sleeping tents, novelty tables and vendors stands selling food, beverages and treats.
Though the skies were grey and threatening, the joyful crowd was ready to plunge ahead no matter what. Last years emcee, Somers native David Kane, returned to greet the throngs and introduce a few of the evenings notables. Among them were Carol Ciriceo, leader of the pack, Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, and society representative Katie Hobday.
Cicero thanked the Somers School District for providing the venue. Without their support we could not host this wonderful event, she said. This is an amazing gathering. We have family, friends, co-workers, business people, children, parents - all of us neighbors. And we are all here for the same reason. To put an end to cancer. This is Somers in its finest hour.
Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy added: What we do here today is give each other the courage and the hope to keep on doing what we do. This is a wonderful community to do it in. Im proud to be a part of it.
Speaking on behalf of the American Cancer Society, Katie Hobday said more than $80,000 had been raised before the event started and congratulated several teams for reaching the bronze and platinum levels of fund-raising. Susan Walsh has become an all-star. Shes raised over $2,500 by herself.
Team captain Clare Andersen, who has served as a caregiver to her father, brother, sister and a dear friend, said: My life has been touched and I take a parallel journey. At times caregivers feel totally helpless. But just being there is a special opportunity. Relay For Life brings hope and awareness. Early detection is so important in cancer treatment. Among other things, Relay reminds people to go for an annual checkup.
As a finale to the opening ceremonies, 805 students of the Somers Intermediate School marched onto the field bearing their handmade Chain of Hope. Each student had created a link in the chain, describing what cancer meant to him/her.
The presentation of the chain concluded with the children, joined by a cheering crowd, singing an anthem for the evening, Lean On Me.
Check the website for the latest up-date on Somers Relay For Life 2012.
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