Tri-Town Relay for Life Gears up for 2012

The Relay for Life of the Tri-Town gathered together at the ORR library on Tuesday night for the official kick off to the upcoming event, which will happen on Friday, June 8 and Saturday, June 9 at the ORR High School track area.

“As of tonight, we have four teams registered, nine participants and have already raised $2883,” said event organizer, Heather Ruel. “The theme for 2012 is ‘The Wonderful World of Relay, a Disney based theme and a very exciting one as we enter our seventh year.”

During the relay, teams of people camp out in tents at the track and take turns walking or running around the track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. “Because cancer never sleeps,” said Ms. Ruel.

The event starts at 4:00 pm on Friday, June 8 and wraps up at 10:00 am on Saturday morning, June 9. It starts with an opening ceremony and is followed by a cancer survivors lap. Team laps follow and other various fun and serious moments run throughout the evening, night and early morning. Breakfast is served for participants. The event is supported in other ways by the ORR Drama Club, Mattapoisett Public Library and other local businesses who donate time or goods for the event.

When asked how she got involved in the event, Ms. Ruel said that she wanted to give back, something her parents had taught her. “When I moved back to town after ten years, I joined the committee to give back and got involved… three years later, I became the chairperson.” Ms. Ruel explained that she has two aunts from both sides of her family that had breast cancer and both are survivors of more than ten years. “I got breast cancer in 2009. Later that year, after treatment, I was informed that I was cancer free with a less than 10 percent chance of return,” said Ms. Ruel, who walks the track during the “Survivor Walk” portion of the event.

The Tri-Town event is one of over 5,000 other Relay events across the country in celebrating those who have survived cancer and remembering those who lost their battle and to fight back against it.

Last year was a record breaking year, with the Tri-Town group raising $83,535. Their goal had been $67,000. “We had 50 survivors (also a record for the Tri-Town), and 250 participants in total with 16 teams. The top fundraising teams included The Stack Pack, Team F.A.C.T., Loud & Clear, Loving Bees and Within Reach,” she said.

“Eighty-four cents of every dollar raised goes to fight back against all types of cancer,” said Ms. Ruel. “We (American Cancer Society) are the ones that take the risk and support the young scientists, many of them in this area (Boston)… this is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about this organization.” The American Cancer Society is the largest single non-profit organization in the world.

Anyone interested in joining or forming a team or just volunteering time during the event should call Heather Ruel at 508-758-8017 or e-mail her at The Tri-Town Relay for Life is also on Facebook and Twitter.

By Joan Hartnett-Barry

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