Relaying for a cure


The Baldwin community has done its fair share of rallying together in recent years, including in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy and following last year’s school budget cuts. On Saturday, Baldwinites will unite once more to raise money for another important cause: cancer research and treatment.

Hundreds of people are expected at Baldwin Park on June 14 during the community’s sixth annual Relay For Life event, which will take place from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on a field near the tennis courts. In years past, Relay was held at the Baldwin High School track and took place overnight. More than $34,000 has already been raised with more money coming in each day.

During Relay For Life events, participants take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event to represent that cancer never rests. Since there is no track in the park, one will be outlined on the field.

Two-time cancer survivor Mary Ann Romano has been a part of Baldwin’s Relay since its inception, and now leads the Beating Hearts for a Cure team, which has already raised more than $10,000. In 2004, Romano said doctors gave her a 26 percent chance to live for five years after diagnosing her with breast cancer. In 2007, she said doctors gave her a 15 percent chance to live with late-stage ovarian cancer.

“When you hear the words, ‘You have cancer,’ the spectrum of emotions is indescribable,” Romano said. “You live a life on a roller coaster ride of ups and downs, twists and turns, not knowing what is going to hit you at the next bend. Remissions end too quickly. Recurrences are a way of life … and death.”

For Romano, Relay is a chance to help other survivors get treatment and give people not yet or recently diagnosed a better chance at beating their disease. “I try to do as much as I can to help other survivors live longer,” she said.

Baldwin’s Relay events have raised more than $250,000 to date, Romano said, and according to Sarah Sobel, a special events manager with the American Cancer Society who is overseeing the event, this year could be the biggest yet.

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