UNION, NJ – Families, friends, schoolmates and cancer survivors joined in for the 3rd  Annual Relay for Life of Union Saturday at the Union High School football field.

“As Mayor, it gives me such a great sense of pride to know that Union is so dedicated to eradicating a disease that in some way, shape or form has affected everyone that’s here today,” said Union Mayor Suzette Cavadas.

“We all remember somebody in our hearts when we walk today,” said State Senator Joseph Cryan.  “For those we’ve lost, we remember.  For those who’ve survived, we admire you.”

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Event co-chair, Connecticut Farms School teacher and cancer survivor Kelly Higgins said, “I am proud to be an 18-year survivor of melanoma.  Being a survivor, you can’t make it without friends, family and community.  This is our way to honor survivors and remember those we lost and to thank those who take care of us.”

Higgins, with co-event chairperson Mary Ellen Pattricio, said, “we are here today as a community, to bring everyone together to help raise money for cancer, to celebrate survivors and to remember those we lost.”

This year alone, more than 560,00 Americans are expected to die of cancer.  More than 1,500 a day.

Committeeman Manuel Figueiredo spoke about a Burnet Middle School student who has been battling cancer for the last year.  Figueiredo said the student has been in Morristown Medical Center and is also treated in Philadelphia.  “She is a survivor.  She is fighting it,” said Figueiredo.  “It’s a battle.  It’s a struggle,” said Committeewoman Michele Delisfort, “and interestingly, it’s a battle that brings communities together.”

The walk began with a Survivor Lap, then a Caregiver Lap, and for the next six hours, participants from Union schools walked the track at Union High.  While not walking, volunteers enjoyed music and dancing, games and yoga, zumba and singing. 

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"Editor's Note:  In the interest of transparency, TAPinto Union's franchisee/owner/publisher, Kathy Cryan, is married to State Senator Joe Cryan"