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Relay for Life Kick-Off Draws Packed House

The Relay for Life Kick-Off drew a packed house at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac. Credits: Bob Dumas
Tracey Walsh, Relay for Life community manager, addresses the crowd. Credits: Bob Dumas
The winners of the Relay for Life Purple Platter— given to the highest fundraising team—was the Barile/Stern family, Rose and Tom Stern, Mike Barile, Emily Barile, Nichole Barile-Stern and Mike Stern. Credits: Bob Dumas
The Mahopac Color Guard performs. Credits: Bob Dumas
The Mahopac Color Guard takes part in the candle-lighting ceremony. Credits: Bob Dumas
Mahopac Cub Scout Pack 271 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Credits: Bob Dumas
From left, Police Chief Mike Cazzari, Councilman John Lupinacci and Supervisor Ken Schmitt came out to the Kick-Off to show the police department and Town Board’s support for Relay for Life. Credits: Bob Dumas
Nine-year-old Jonathan Scheidt, a student at Austin Road, at the candle-lighting ceremony Credits: Bob Dumas
Members of Cub Scout Pack 271, along with Pack Leader Meaghan Capellini (rear), participate in the candle-lighting. Credits: Bob Dumas

MAHOPAC, N.Y.— Relay for Life, the annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, held its Kick-Off event at the Putnam County Golf Course in Mahopac Thursday, March 23.

The Kick-Offs are used as an avenue for recruiting teams, sponsors and participants for the upcoming Relay for Life, which will be held Saturday, June 3, at Mahopac High School. The Kick-Off event on Thursday drew a standing-room-only crowd and featured dinner, guest speakers, a performance by the Mahopac Color Guard, award presentations and a series of fundraising raffles.

“We’ve lost two team captains and a beloved hero of hope, Crissy Hajkowski [since the last Relay],” Tracey Walsh, Relay for Life community manager, told the crowd in her opening remarks. “So, we can’t start the fun until we talk about what we do. Because we Relay, we’ve surrounded them with love and support. They would not want us to remember and be crying, but we’ll probably fail. But there are a lot of miracles in this room tonight. Let’s make more miracles!”

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County Executive MaryEllen Odell had praise for the caregivers who work with and stand by those who struggle with a cancer diagnosis.

“When you are in the middle of the fight, you realize you are not alone,” she said. “I feel a passion making sure this Relay resonates throughout the Hudson Valley. Let’s wear our purple (the official color for Relay for Life) proudly this June.”

The event concluded with a candle-lighting ceremony in remembrance of all those who lost their battle to cancer and in honor of those who’ve survived.

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