Rain can’t dampen Relay spirit

20Jun17

By MARK SARDELLA

The cold, driving rain may have kept attendance down but nothing could dampen the spirits of hundreds who turned out Friday evening for the opening ceremonies of the Relay For Life of Wakefield.

As attendees gathered under as huge tent in the center of the track at Northeast Metro Tech, organizers braved the pouring rain to present an abbreviated opening ceremony for the 18th annual Relay For Life of Wakefield to remember loved ones lost, honor survivors of all cancers and raise money to help the American Cancer Society make a global impact on cancer.

“Today we are here to celebrate all those who have battled cancer, our survivors, our loved ones lost and to take action,” master of ceremonies Elaine Silva of Wakefield told the crowd.
She said that the 15-hour Relay event would recognize the battle waged by those fighting cancer and undergoing treatment.

“This little bit of rain, cold and wetness is nothing compared to what they go through,” Silva said.

After the a cappella Harborlight Show Chorus sang the National Anthem, Silva introduced Wakefield Selectman Tony Longo, a cancer survivor.

Longo said that he would not repeat the story of his own battle with cancer, which he recounted at last year’s Relay event.

“Let’s just say that I’m here,” Longo said. “Cancer couldn’t make it.” He thanked all the caregivers who pitch in and make sure that life goes on while cancer patients battle the disease.

American Cancer Society representative Darcy Corcoran thanked those who came out despite the miserable weather.

“You’re all here, and that shows the strength of the Relay movement,” Corcoran said.

Silva recognized the many people from all walks of life who work tirelessly to battle cancer and assist those afflicted with the disease. On behalf of the Relay organizers, she thanked the Town of Wakefield, Northeast Metro Tech, WCAT, the Wakefield DPW, the Wakefield Light Department, The Savings Bank, the event vendors, deejay and the teams and individuals who walk all night to raise funds.

Silva thanked the Relay For Life of Wakefield leadership team, including Noreen D’Alelio, Kathryn Gelardi and Amy Walsh. She then called upon Selectman Longo to light the Torch of Hope.

Cancer Survivors and caregivers then walked the Survivors’ Lap before gathering under the tent to enjoy a delicious hot dinner provided by House Calls Catering of Wakefield.

[This story originally appeared in the June 19, 2017 Wakefield Daily Item.]

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