Tucked away on the west side of the small town of Broad Channel in the middle of Jamiaca Bay is a narrow, dead end, street that goes by the name of West 12th Road. Those of us who live there know that the nice part about living in a small town is that when you are not quite sure what is going on, someone else always does!
[Peter J. Mahon West 12th Road, Broad Channel]
The Knights of Columbus were well represented at the Relay For Life.The Rockaway community gathered together at the Broad Channel Athletic Field on May 16-17 to honor cancer patients, survivors and those who lost the battle at Relay For Life.
Prior to the all-night event the 27 teams raised $60,156 for the American Cancer Society. To date, the total is $79,558.
The teams met at the field just before 6 p.m. and set up their camps on the field inside the track, where they fundraised until 6 a.m. the next day. “The 12 hours is supposed to symbolize the cancer patient’s journey through treatment,” said Sabrina Gross, one of the co-leaders of the event. “So after the 12 hours when they’re exhausted and feel like they can’t go on there’s hope because there’s a new day. So that’s kind of what we’re symbolizing.” For many of the teams it was their first time relaying for the American Cancer Society, since it was the first time the event was held in Broad Channel. The last Relay For Life event in the Rockaway area took place before Hurricane Sandy.
Special candles called Luminaria are lit during Relay For Life events to honor the dead.“This is what a Relay For Life looks like,” said Ben Messner, who manages Relay For Life in all five boroughs of New York City. “The fact that they did this on their first time is truly unbelievable.”
Messner said that the more than 350 people who attended the event represented the demographic of the entire community, adding that “not everywhere does that.” The itinerary of the night was carefully scheduled – there were new activities going every hour of the night.
The night began with a special opening ceremony, followed by a unity lap where every attendee walked one lap around the track together, a dance performance by Thomasina’s Dance Company, story time, a Luminaria ceremony (where special candles are lit for those who have died from cancer), zumba, movie time, an acoustic performance by Chris Long, and a “fight back” closing ceremony. There was an even mix of hope and sadness among the attendees, as some teams were honoring people who recently lost their battle with cancer.
Even the rain couldn’t slow down those rallying for a cure!“It’s bittersweet, sad and happy at the same time,” said Kelly Magill, who was relaying for Coleen’s Crew in remembrance of her sister who died of ovarian cancer. “It’s good to come out and raise awareness for this cause,” Magill added. “It really shows that a lot of people are affected by this disease.”
To continue fundraising at Relay For Life, Coleen’s Crew sold handmade wreaths with seashells from the beach for $2 each.