The success of Relay for Life depends on everyone’s help

Relay for Life 2019 is in the books and it could not have been possible without the effort of so many. I have a lot of people to extend my appreciation to on behalf of Relay and the American Cancer Society, beginning with the Gloversville Enlarged School District for allowing us to use the beautiful new track. A special shout out to the custodial staff; and Mrs. Gillis for organizing a group of students to help; you were all amazing. The Gloversville Department of Public Works for supplying us with their portable light. Nathan Littauer Hospital, Hannaford, Plaza’s Italian Bistro, House of Pizza and committee members for donating the food that our survivors and their guests enjoyed. Dr. Arsyl DeJesus of NYOH for her involvement and encouraging words and all she and her staff do in the fight against cancer. A big thank you to St. Mary’s Hospital for being a gold level sponsor. Although Sen. Jim Tedisco could not join us in person; he sent a citation to my attention acknowledging our community’s efforts. DJ Dave and Cindy Arnold for volunteering their services; even with a broken ankle. Thank you! Toby’s Tent Rentals for being so reliable and efficient with the setting up of our four tents and Lynn and Walter Buyce for being there as our food truck; and Pop Pop’s Ice Cream Truck; both donating back a percentage of their proceeds from their evening sales to our event.

Marie Lauria shared her story of what being a survivor is all about. Brianna Pettit shared what being a caregiver for her mother who lost her battle with cancer is like. Both strong, beautiful women. They added the personal touch to relay. My good friend Bill Rowback; for attending; and leading the lap with the American flag.

Annemarie Dillon, senior community manager at the American Cancer Society made a special presentation to Stacey Betler. Stacey, herself is a cancer survivor, and has personally been the top relayer in the Capital District for the past two years. She has led our relay for as far back as I can remember. At the time I wrote this letter, she was leading with an amount of $8,770. A much-deserved recognition. I am proud and honored to work with her and more importantly to call her my friend.

With the help of our Survivor Committee, led by Pam Bray, donations from several area businesses and organizations provided a “goody-bag” for the survivors and care-givers to take home.

The luminaria ceremony is always, in my opinion, the most beautiful part of relay. Stacey, and her sister Connie Whitbeck spelled out HOPE with luminaria bags in the bleachers and as Olivia Hannifan sang as each one was lit. Survivors led the lap of silence, as those that lost their battled were remembered. The outside of the track was illuminated with luminaria bags; each one telling the story of a survivor; or remembering a loved one who lost their battle.

And finally, to the 40 teams; including the more than 60 survivors, the rest of the event leadership team, thank you for making this relay reach its goal and beyond; and continuing to be the number two relay in the Capital Region. At present we are over $74,000; and with outstanding commitments expected to be in prior to the end of the relay season, Aug. 31; we should round at approximately $86,000. If you haven’t donated; there is still time; visit www.relayforlife.org today and make a contribution in the fight against cancer.

It has been a pleasure serving as event lead for the past seven years and while I hand the baton over to someone else; Relay for Life will always be an event I contribute to. Thank you; and may God bless.

JAMIN CLEMENTE

Gloversville