NORTH SHORE RELAY FOR LIFE SEEKS TO "FINISH THE FIGHT"
June 12, 2015 -- After several months of preparation, Relay for life of North Shore 2015 held its culminating event at the high school field last Saturday evening and into Sunday morning, June 6th and 7th.
Cancer survivors, caregivers and several hundred supporters turned out to memorialize loved ones who lost their lives to cancer, to honor those who have survived their battle with the disease, and to raise funds to "finish the fight."
294 members of the 36 relay teams participating in the event camped out on the high school soccer field ringed by hundreds of luminarias - paper bag lanterns, each paying tribute to a friend or loved one who has been afflicted by cancer - and throughout the night, took turns lapping the rectangular track.
North Shore High School Senior Marissa Frank was the student chairperson of this year's campaign, and addressing the crowd, explained how when she was two, her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, losing her battle with the disease four year's later. "Relay taught me that cancer does not alway win," she said. "We can win the fight. I have been relaying for nine years and it has changed my life . . . One day we will finish the fight."
Rabbi Janet Liss, of North Country Reform Temple in Glen Cove, a breast cancer survivor then spoke. "We are all here today because we have been touched by cancer. We are survivors, caregivers, loved ones and friends." Rabbi Liss, who had officiated at Marissa Frank's mother's funeral more than a decade ago, spoke of North Shore alumnus Andrew Fierstein's 15 year battle against Ewing's Sarcoma. She said she would continue her tradition, since she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008, of walking with Andrew during Relay's survivor's lap. "Hope," she said, "is what keeps us going when the odds are against us." Rabbi Liss, then led the audience in a "Mi Shebeirach" or prayer for healing.
In addition to the speakers, Saturday's events included a variety of musical performances, and activities to keep the participants up, including a musical chair scavenger hunt, Zumba, and a three-legged lap.
By Sunday, Relay North Shore had raised nearly $75,000, adding to its total of more than $1 million that had been raised over the previous eight years. $5,000 of this year's total was a donation from Optimum Community, which recognized North Shore Relay for Life as a "Charity Champions" grand prize winner.
Sponsors of this year's North Shore Relay include North Shore/LIJ, Purolator, Rock Our Cures, Moes, Gold Coast Lions of Sea cliff, Perale Vision, General Antetsthesia Services LLP and Glen Head Hardware. The Gold Coast Lion's hosted the Survivors and Caregivers Reception on Saturday, Kiwanis held a nighttime barbeque and served breakfast, and Starbucks supplied coffee.
Contributions for the 2015 campaign will still be collected through August.