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.