’s 2010 Relay for Life fundraiser was the largest on Long Island, with 145 teams registered and over $180,000 raised.
And David Storch, faculty advisor for this event, says he hopes to meet or beat that performance this year, the district's third reaching $200,000.
“We’re all here for the same reason,” Storch told the crowd. “To put an end to cancer.” The money raised goes toward research and support for those fighting the disease.
To that end, organizers and participants have been meeting since February to plan for the event scheduled for Saturday, June 4 to Sunday, June 5.
Hundreds of students, parents and teachers attended a community kick-off meeting for the district's third annual event on February 16, and the next meeting, this one especially for team captains, is scheduled for tomorrow, March 30, in the large cafeteria at the high school. Team captains are responsible for making sure everyone on their team is registered, as well as sharing information with the team members.
According to those who have participated in the past, the event is an opportunity to have fun while doing good. "It is an amazing overnight experience designed to bring together those who have been touched by cancer," reads a press release
Teams of students, parents, teachers, and members of the community gather at the high school track. During the event, teams composed of eight to 15 people participate by taking turns walking “shifts" from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Students who raise more than $100 sleep overnight behind the football field in tents, and take turns walking “shifts.”
Highlighting the evening is the Luminaria Ceremony, held after dark to honor cancer survivors and to remember those who have lost the battle against cancer. Hundreds of luminaria will line the track and will be left burning throughout the night to remind participants of the importance of their contributions. In addition, musical groups, dance troupes, and midnight madness will ensue to ensure participants stay entertained.
To register as part of a team, participants join online and pay a $20 registration fee.
At the kickoff meeting, several cancer survivors spoke at the meeting about their personal battles with the disease and how Relay for Life has touched their heart.
Dawn Tropeano, an American Cancer Society advocate, said she has been cancer-free for 10 years cancer-free and will be celebrating her 48th birthday this year. The goal of the American Cancer Society, and the goal of Relay for Life, is to help people fighting the disease see more birthdays, she said.
“Cancer survivors can inspire us,” Tropeano said.
Editor's Note: Reporter Jacqui Neber, a Northport High School freshman, is a team captain.