Hundreds gathered to cheer on and support cancer survivors and caregivers on June 1 at South Side High School’s second Relay For Life. The event, hosted by South Side’s Cancer Awareness Club, raised more than $50,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“The American Cancer Society helps people all over the country,” Cancer Awareness Club President Arianna Schaden said. “In terms of giving people rides to chemo, giving people a place to stay for chemo, and just donating to research, it can help anyone who’s been affected by cancer.”
The evening kicked off at 5 p.m. with a survivors lap and a caregivers lap around the track. Guests participated in games and raffles, and the event closed with the Luminaria Ceremony, during which family members and friends illuminated paper bags decorated to honor those who have battled or are currently fighting cancer.
The Cancer Awareness Club chose to host a Relay for Life for the first time last year after the relay it had previously sponsored in Pennsylvania ended. Members recognized the positive effect a Relay for Life event would have on Rockville Centre after realizing how many people in the community have had a personal experience with cancer — people fighting the disease, along with their family and friends, come together for the cause.
“It’s just a place where people, no matter what their experience is with cancer, can come and feel supported,” said Megan O’Brien, faculty advisor of the Cancer Awareness Club. “Even when you’re in the face of a disease that’s really scary and things are very uncertain, it just feels good to be around people who are feeling the same thing you are.”
“It’s always nice to bring us together, and to know that we have more commonalities than we do differences,” added South Side Principal John Murphy, who highlighted the importance of a unifying event like Relay for Life in Rockville Centre. “We owe it to ourselves to collaborate, and I think it’s a real feel-good moment for the community to see the goodness and the love that we all share.”
The website for donations will be open through August. Those still wishing to donate can visit www.relayforlife.org/rvcny.