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'Fighting back' at the track


Tantasqua Relay for Life raises funds for cancer research



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Cancer survivors Kyle Lamoureux and Sandi Garceau talk prior to the event. Kevin Flanders. (click for larger version)
April 11, 2011
STURBRIDGE — The American Cancer Society hosted its eighth annual Relay for Life walk at Tantasqua Regional High School Friday night, April 8, and well into Saturday morning, April 9, as more than 200 local high school students helped raise thousands of dollars to fund cancer research.

The Relay for Life was a team event during which participants walked or ran around the track in relay-style shifts to celebrate the hope that cancer will be beaten. Team members took turns circling the track throughout the night and early morning and enjoyed food, entertainment and camaraderie as they camped out and cheered for each other.

"The greatest highlight of this event was the fact that we took time to celebrate cancer survivors, remembered those who lost their lives to cancer, and also focused on fighting back," said Kathleen Kelly, a spokeswoman for the American Cancer Society.

The Relay for Life schedule of events reflected the American Cancer Society's decision to emphasize the three aforementioned activities. The event began with an emotional survivors' lap that included nearly 30 cancer survivors walking the first lap to kick off the Relay, an activity meant to celebrate all cancer survivors. The survivors ranged in age from children to elderly folks, and they were all applauded while taking their lap. At 9 p.m., a candle lighting ceremony took place to honor those who lost their battles with cancer. About 100 candles lined the track, each one honoring those who are no longer with us and also representing hope for individuals who are currently struggling with the disease. Moreover, throughout the evening various speakers reiterated the need to continue battling cancer each year until a cure is found. A special "Fight Back" ceremony was held at 2 a.m. during which participants rallied together to voice their opposition to cancer.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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