Cancer fundraiser brings out community to help beat diseasePublished 12:25am Sunday, May 19, 2013
ROME TOWNSHIP — Corey Johnson and Matt Bittner were doing some last-minute decorating as they taped a garland of flowers around the edges of the tent that was Fairland High School’s contribution to this year’s Relay for Life.
The hot May sun seemed to offer an appropriate atmosphere for the theme the school’s student council had picked out for their tent — Castaway for a Cure.
The reason for the choice came from student council member Claire Hinshaw who is a self-proclaimed “Gilligan’s Island” fan.
All three have had their young lives touched by cancer as they have watched family and friends fight the disease.
“My dad is a survivor,” Hinshaw said. “And both my grandfathers died of cancer. This is to show support for the things people go through and raise awareness.”
Even before the Relay began, the Fairland students had already met their goal of raising $2,500. Anything else they raised Saturday was a bonus to cancer research.
Relay For Life is an almost 30-year tradition to engage local communities in the fight against cancer by creating a community event, whether daylong or overnight, with teams bringing in dollars for research.
This year the Relay was at the Lawrence County Fairgrounds. And instead of an overnight event as has been in the past, this Relay was intentionally scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The reason was to gain more participation as its timeframe was thought to be less likely to interfere with busy family schedules.
“We wanted to have the community more involved,” Melanie Kerstetter, local Relay organizer, said.
As in the past this Relay began with the Survivors’ Walk where those who have won their fight against the disease took a lap around the fairgrounds before the day’s main activities began.
While cancer cures sometimes seem a long way off, both Johnson and Bittner are encouraged that one day the disease will be eradicated.
“Hopefully an end can some soon,” Johnson said.
“You don’t stop hoping,” Bittner said. “If you have hope, you can do anything.”