Taylor Crossnohere began talking about her mother Maureen and tears welled up in her eyes.
“She was such an outgoing fun person,” Crossnohere said as her friends wrapped their arms around her. “I miss her, but I guess I’m not as alone as I once thought.”
Maureen died in November 2010 from lymphoma. Crossnoher is one of the co-chairs of the sixth annual . The overnight event raises money for the American Cancer Society.
“I’ve made so many friends who have lost their mothers to cancer, you can relate to one another and help each other,” Crossnohere said.
Cancer survivors and their families and friends, will gather at on May 12. They will walk around the jogging track all afternoon and night to honor the memory of those killed by cancer and to give strength to those still battling against the disease. High school students organize and run the event.
Hundreds of participants will sleep in tents near the track. Participants are divided up into teams. A member from each team will walk around the track all night.
“Knowing that you are standing next to someone who is has cancer or knows someone who is fighting it, there’s such a comfort in that,” said co-chair Quinn Fohlinger, a student at .
Fohlinger’s mother Carrie is a breast cancer survivor. She said that the event is about more than just giving money to an organization. It humanizes the effects that cancer has on people. It gives a face to the problem.
“Before, giving money to something like curing cancer was just about opening your checkbook and sending money somewhere but with this you know that the money you give is going to help the people that you see,” Carrie Fohlinger said.
More than 640 participants have donated nearly $35,000 already. Manny's Preakness Restaurant will of their profits next week to the relay.
The event will begin at 2 p.m. Cancer survivors will speak about their experiences before the walk begins. As a new part of the ceremony this year, caregivers will be honored for the assistance they give those who have cancer.
“We want to bring something new to the table every year,” said Josh Liebman, a co-chair from Wayne Valley. “Every year there is an entire new freshman class that comes in and is a part of what we’re doing. Everyone brings something different to the table, but we’re all there for the same reason.”
Hundreds of bags will line the track during the Luminaria Ceremony. Each bag will contain a candle on the inside and a hand-written message in memory of a cancer survivor or a victim.
“Cancer was something that people never brought up because it was something everyone was afraid of and had this darkness that surrounded it, but now there’s so much hope for people who have it that there never used to be,” Carrie Fohlinger said.
For more information about Relay for Life, visit the event’s Web site, call 201-457-3418, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.