CHATHAM, NJ - Carolyn Dempsey only had one "lump-in-the-throat" moment during her inspiring speech that kicked off the sixth annual Relay for Life at Haas Field on Saturday. It was when she told the story about why her daughter wanted to start a team for the relay two years ago.
"I want to raise money and do what I can so other children do not have to worry about losing their parents," Dempsey said of her daughter, Austen, who was nine at the time. "So other children do not have to face that fear."
The Chatham mom is a four-year breast cancer survivor and she spoke of the determination she had as she battled her illness.
"I was determined that cancer was not going to keep me from doing all these things in life I love to do," Dempsey said. "The first relay we came to right after I finished my treatment, it was really amazing to see all these people here committing and dedicated to creating a future without cancer.
"The money you raise today might just save the life of someone you love. You might even save yourself. You are paying it forward today and creating a better future."
Chatham mother Carolyn Dempsey tells her story and urges all to show determination in the fight to eliminate cancer
Cancer survivors lead the relay around Haas Field in Chatham on Saturday
Grace Petersen sings the national anthem before the start of the Relay for Life
Kyra Miller, Chatham resident, and American Cancer Society staff partner for the event, said that $80,000 already had been raised.
"Hopefully, we'll raise around $90,000," Miller said. "It's so much fun, the kids love it. We have about 600 people participating this year."