Includes Couple United in Supporting the Cause For Special Reasons
WEST ORANGE, NJ -- The Relay For Life of West Orange will take place on May 20-21 from 6:00pm to 6:00am at West Orange High School, 51 Conforti Avenue. One couple in this year's event have a history of reasons for attending.
Newlyweds Alex Baron and Jessica Gaeta are new to West Orange. In addition to their passion for each other, they are passionate about the Relay, viewing it as a perfect way to get to know more people in their community.
Alex is a cancer survivor, and is senior director for the Society’s survivor and mission engagement programs nationwide. He remembers his first Relay back in high school.
“I was dealing with my own recent cancer surgery and emotions and I didn’t even necessarily want to be at Relay,” said Alex, “But when I put on that purple shirt and saw hundreds of people, I knew I wasn’t alone. It was life changing."
"That’s how we want every survivor and family member to feel. We want them to have that same experience," he added.
The couple has already raised more than $2,600 and hopes to top $3,000 for their own Relay for Life team – Team Mama Gaeta. Jessica lost her mother to cancer when she was in high school. She now serves as volunteer care manager, where she strives to match volunteer talent with rewarding roles. One of the most urgent needs is for volunteer drivers for Road to Recovery – a program that provides local patients with rides to treatment.
Both Relay For Life volunteers since high school, Alex and Jessica have devoted themselves to making sure others feel the same support that they received through their very different experiences with cancer. Relay For Life kicks off with a celebration of survivors and caregivers. A luminaria event at dark memorializes those who have been lost to the disease. The funds raised benefit the American Cancer Society’s robust research program and services to those affected by cancer.
“Beyond the physical experience, we understand the worry, the follow-ups, and the emotional turmoil that comes with the disease,” said Alex, “We want people to know that they are not alone.”
At the 2016 Relay For Life of West Orange, local volunteers and participants from the community will celebrate cancer survivors, remember those lost to the disease, and take action to save more lives from cancer.
33 teams and 305 participants have already raised over $27,000 and that number will surely increase. There is still time to join a team or donate. Several West Orange High School and local teams are signed up, including the Jr. AFROTC, the Walkaholics, the Holy Walkamolies, and the Roosevelt Rough Riders.
The tentative schedule is as follows:
6 p.m. – Tent Set up
7 p.m. – Opening Ceremony including Survivor and Caregiver Laps
7:45 p.m. – VIP Survivor Reception
8 p.m – Dapper Dan – Acapella Performance
9 p.m. – Luminaria Ceremony
5:30 a.m. – Closing Ceremony and Last Lap
Ongoing activities will include:
Kids Corner – Mini Golf, Giant Connect Four game, Giant Jenga, Coloring pages, Bubbles
Themed Laps will include:
Additional tentative activities will include:
Newspaper Fashion Show
Kan Jam Tournament
Frozen T-Shirt competition
Rooster Crowing Competition
Social Media Scavenger Hunt