CLARK, NJ - June 10th marked Relay for Life of Clark’s 10th annual event. Over $44,000 were raised for the American Cancer Society.
“We want to honor our survivors and our caregivers,” said Carolanne Romeo, who coordinated the event. With 100 survivors and over 300 total participants and special guest speaker Representative Leonard Lance, this year’s Relay was a time to celebrate victories in the fight against cancer.
There was food, face paint, and music, but most importantly there was community. “That’s what we do in Clark, we support each other,” Romeo said at the opening ceremony. Family and friends came together to support each other in times of success, and console each other in times of need.
This year, the community became global. Jack’s Lap began at 7:20 in Clark, and simultaneous laps took place across the country and the world as far as England, Italy, and Israel. There was even a sky high lap above Washington State.
The lap reminded people to stay strong. All around were survivors and those still fighting. “We will win this fight because our cause is noble,” Rep. Leonard Lance said in his speech.
Lance spoke about importance of early detection. He introduced the Cancer Drug Parity Act which made it so insurance companies would have to cover cancer screening procedures like colonoscopies. The American Cancer Society hopes that by 2020, 80% of people eligible for a colonoscopy actually get one. Lance and Relay goers are confident in the cause.
Since 1991, cancer related deaths have fallen by 22%. “Cancer doesn't get a big ‘c’ anymore,” Romeo said. “We have so many survivors now; cancer doesn't’ get a capital ‘c’.”
The fight against cancer is hard. The luminaries lap that honors those who have died is always emotional. But Clark’s Relay is still fighting back. The Rodriguez family of “Team Edwin” raised over $13,000 in memory of husband and father Edwin John Rodriguez. With hope and support, Clark Relay and the American Cancer Society expect to bring more moments of celebration and strength.