Running late for cancer

By Lydia Goerner | May 26, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Some teams dressed up for the relay, keeping them energetic throughout the night.

Cool, damp weather on Friday, May 26, did not deter a large group of Relay for Life participants from walking all night long to raise funds for cancer research.

Wareham’s 15th Relay for Life, an event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, was attended by children supplied with colorful cupcakes and by teams in creative costumes.

From the start of the relay at 6 p.m. to the end at 8 a.m. Saturday morning, someone from each team was expected to walk around the track, signifying that cancer never sleeps.

Some of the laps had fun themes, like movie stars or glow in the dark. There was a lap for survivors and one for caretakers, who were applauded by the crowd lining the Wareham Middle School track.

“I know firsthand with my parents’ diagnosis that this is a shared journey,” Southcoast Health Oncology Outreach Coordinator Kathy Tsonis told survivors. “Among your family, your caregivers and with each other.”

Cancer survivor Susan Grebber attended the relay for her fourth year. Grebber was diagnosed with ovarian cancer five years ago.

After surgery and five rounds of chemotherapy, Grebber “fought hard to be where I am today.” She attended the walk to raise awareness for ovarian cancer, which she feels is not talked about often enough.

Grebber said walking the survivors lap helps her feel connected with those who have gone through similar experiences.

“It’s a wonderful thing,” Grebber said. “It’s the only time when I get applause.”

Many local businesses and organizations formed teams, including Kaleidoscope of Dance and Gymnastics in Wareham. Their team of 30 was called Kaleidoscope Kicking Cancer. The Relay for Life gave these organizations an opportunity to support a cause together.

“We’ve all been touched [by cancer] in some way,” said Lisa Irish, whose daughter took classes at the studio. “Mothers, fathers, friends- we all know someone.”

The Relay for Life takes place in more than 5,200 communities and 27 countries, according to the American Cancer Society.

Cancer survivors take their survivors lap around the track to applause from the rest of the group. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
Some teams had a specific person they were walking for. Everyone who attended the relay was able to donate money to the American Cancer Society. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
The FCC Angel Walkers team completes a lap around the Wareham Middle School track. (Photo by: Lydia Goerner)
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