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Great Weather for a Great Event: The Greater Milford Relay for Life

Co-chairs for the Relay for Life 2011 were, left, Bernadette Medeiros and Susan Harvey



One this spring's few great weather days was on tap for Friday, May 13 at 6 p.m., when the 2011 Greater Milford Relay for Life kicked off A great community gathering to support a cause close to many Milford residents and residents of surrounding towns, the relay raises money to find cures for the various types of cancer and as a remembrance of those who have lost their lives, and those who continue to battle the disease. The 18-hour event was filled with fun activities throughout the night including music provided by Ron Auger.

A survivor dinner started the event. The survivors were given a purple shirt and were asked to participate in a hand print activity to put handprints on a poster that was hung for all to see. They could choose between purple and pink prints. Among the 60 survivors who participated were Laurel Rodrick, a four-year survivor, and Martha Sawyer, a five year survivor, both of Bellingham, laid down their prints followed by mother and daughter survivors, Kristin and Cassie DeSousa of Milford.

The Opening Ceremony included the singing of the National Anthem, and a survivor's speech by Tracy Smith. She talked about her personal journey which included being knowledgeable about her type of cancer and treatment, along with how her family has supported her throughout her battle. Her daughters, Jenna and Kayla Smith, formed their own teams, called the Junior Ash Kickers and Milford MEAT. Both teams had more than 20 members and the Ash Kickers currently are the top fundraising team with $7040. Both Jenna and Kayla respectively, are first and second as the top individual fundraisers.

Susan Harvey co-chaired her ninth relay along with Bernadette Medeiros, who is serving for the second time. Both were enthusiastic about the event and very happy about the turnout and the great weather. The team of the Fun Fuzzy Llamas sang a chant to motivate the crowd. The initial lap of the relay was lead by a bagpipe piper followed by the Milford Boy Scout Troops. The survivors, who included all ages and who had had all types of cancer, officially kicked off the event with an inspirational first lap, which showed their unquenchable enthusiasm in their battle against the deadly disease.

Leslie Jacobs, Publicity Chair, said the participation rate of teenagers was over 50 percent and said the group was phenomenal in their dedication to the cause. They walked throughout the night. Most of them have someone near and dear to them battling cancer. She said this year's fundraising has reached $95,000 but their ultimate goal is $100.000. The fundraising will continue until August 31, 2011.

Each team had members with cancer or knew someone who has the disease. One example is Pack 32 of Milford who goes by the team name, Cubs for a Cure. This team had a member, Ben Johnson, aged 8, who is a Leukemia survivor.

Fun Activities and demonstrations took place through out the 18-hour event. On Friday night, participants took part in three-man relays, pajama laps, scavenger hunts, piggy-back races and even an elephant march. Insight Karate demonstrations also entertained the crowd.

The Luminaria Ceremony took place after dark. Candles were lit inside bags filled with sand and decorated with the name of a person touched by cancer. During this ceremony, many participants walked a lap in silence. Late that night there was the Fight Back Ceremony. People involved vowed to make a personal commitment to save lives by continuing to support this event.

Saturdays activities, beginning at midnight, included twister hooplas, marshmallow munch, musical chairs, junk in the trunk, ping-pong catch, egg toss, hula-hoop contests and many more. A survivor's breakfast, along with a team captains' breakfast took place on Saturday morning. The balloon release took place at 11 a.m. followed by the closing ceremony.





Members of Cubs for Cure, Pack 32 in Milford participated in the Relay for Life in honor of one of their own, Ben Johnson, who is a Leukemia survivor. Here been, on the far right is surrounded by a few teammates, l-r,John Probert, Michael Boone and Jack Johnson.





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