Relay for Life Fights Back Against Cancer

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Matthew Hayes walking with mother Cheryl. Matthew has been fighting the disease for 4 years proving cancer discriminates against noone.

On June 17 & 18 the American Cancer Society held its annual Milford Relay for Life at the Milford Middle School. Relay for Life is a life-changing event that gives individuals across our community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember love ones lost and fight back against the disease.

This year’s event included 36 teams from the Milford community that committed to walking around the track throughout the entire night. Each team was asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event to signify that cancer never sleeps.
Cindy Canevari, State Ambassador for Delaware American Cancer Society, was the guest speaker during the opening ceremonies and gave an encouraging speech to commence the event.

“We are here tonight in honor of all the survivors of cancer, those who have died in the fight against the disease and to celebrate how far we have come with research and towards a cure,” said Mrs. Canevari.

The Milford Relay began with the traditional Survivors Lap, where survivors led the way around the track while participants honored them with applause. The survivors lap helps survivors realize their accomplishments and celebrate what they have overcome. The lap also gives hope and inspiration to others by proving that cancer can be beat. Survivors were from all walks of life including a young boy named Matthew Hayes who has been battling cancer for 4 years, proving that cancer does not discriminate by age, nationality, religion or any other factor.

Cancer survivor Bobbi Pavlak described what the Survivor Lap meant to her. “It is really hard to say what it means. I have never been emotional about my cancer. Never felt scared, worried or doubtful. Of course family members have those feelings. I was always positive and strong,” said Bobbi. “What touches me the most when I am walking the lap is when I see other family members so happy and emotional that their loved ones are still here and walking. I feel the Survivor Lap is really a celebration of all the challenges the survivor overcomes, and a way the caregivers and family members get to share their success.”

As the sun set over the Milford Middle School stadium the night sky was bright from illuminated bags placed on the stadium bleachers. During the Luminaria Ceremony participants were asked to gather together to remember those who have fallen victim to cancer. Luminaria bags were decorated by participants honoring a loved one who passed or is currently fighting the disease. The bags were placed around the track with candles inside the bags and lit before the start of the Luminaria Ceremony. Luminarias were also placed on the Middle School bleachers to spell out the word HOPE as the word was illuminated during the ceremony. Participants and guest speakers were invited to share their stories as each participant was given a candle to light in remembrance of a loved one.

2011 Relay for Life Cancer Survivors included Amanda Meade, Bob Hampton, Brittany Moore, Cindy Lupinetti, David Aldridge, Donald Boucek, Ed Steiner, Fran Johnson, Howard Sipple, Jason Miller,Karen Messick, Linda Boos, Mark McDaniel, Michele Stevenson, Nancy Landis, Patricia McTheny, Randyl Lyons, Selena Fry, William Harris, Sharon Widden, Angela Tribbitt, Bobbi Pavlik, Carole Frickle, Cora Downes, Davis Sauls, Donald Coucer, Edward Miller, Fred Carlisle, Huie White I, Loretta Seiverd, Mary Pardoe, Michele Webb, Nancy White, Patty Gorman, Ray Mann, Stephan Yanek, Allen Parsons, Paul Mills, Barbara Simonsen, Bonnie DeMar, Chantoni Cummings, Daniel Cahall, Debbie Toms, Doris Fry, Elinor Couch, Geri Donahue, Ivan Martinez, Joyce Waring, Leah Grover, Lynn Morean, Mary Roberts, Michelle Munday, Pat Lankford, Phyllis Gore, Ronald Lindale, Tracey Welsh, Dot Leyanna, Matt Smith, Betty Nailor, Bonnie Voshell, Cindy Canevari, Danielle Siok, Donna Boucek, Dwayne Johnson, Elsie Smith, Harold Levin, James Bailey, Karen Henninger, Lester Grover, Marge Steiner, Michele Keen, Mike Van Vliet, Patricia Donnelly, Preston Nailor, Sandy Harris, Wane Cheney, Ellen Smith, Ron Jenkins and Matthew Hayes. The large crowd drew hundreds of participants to honor the survivors and remember loved ones.

Relay for Life continues to help individuals by showing them that comfort, healing and support can be found by sharing with others who have experienced cancer in some form in their lives; directly or through loved ones. The Relay for Life event offers opportunities for participants to meet others who are as equally passionate about finding a cure for cancer, thank people who have helped with personal cancer experiences and make new, lasting friendships and memories.

To learn more information about Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society visit www.relayforlife.org/milfordde or call Tina Faulkner at 302-242-6254.