Cancer survivors, caregivers, and supporters pitched tents in preparation for the 12-hour Relay for Life of Portage at Willowcreek Middle School on Friday night to help raise funds to support the American Cancer Society.
A color guard from American Legion Post 502 kicked off the walk, leading cancer survivors in purple shirts around the track for the first walk. The inner ring of the track was packed with supporters, cheering on the first lap.
From there, caregivers joined the procession, followed by a sponsor lap and a team lap. Families put together teams to honor loved ones and local businesses and organizations, like NorthShore Health Centers, assembled teams to show their support.
“[The community] is uniting together to take action for lifesaving change,” said Tina Anderson of Indiana Volunteer Leadership Team and emcee for the night. “This celebration of life brings the community together in a unified effort to save lives from cancer and symbolizes the fight that cancer patients must face after they are diagnosed.”
Event lead and NorthShore Team Captain, Denise Carpenter was so happy to be such a large part in this incredible evening stating, “Relay for Life is important to me on a personal level because my family has been affected by cancer in numerous ways. It’s also very important to those of us who work at NorthShore. We have a few cancer survivors that are here participating today, who work with us. So we take it personal, as a team. Our mission of helping people get quality healthcare and take care of themselves goes hand in hand with the mission of the American Cancer Society and the fact that the money raised here will stay in our community to help our community members. We love being a part of the community and serving them in whatever capacity we can. This is just another way we can help give back and we love coming back, year after year. So far, our team has raised over $6,000 this year, which we are so proud of!”
From performances by Dream Big Gymnastics and School of Dance, to Costumes for a cause offering photo opportunities with favorite characters like Belle, Spiderman, and Deadpool, there was something for everyone to enjoy. Nevertheless, the focus of the celebration remained squarely on the survivors in their purple shirts.
Sue Lynch of the Portage City Council spoke of the fear of diagnosis and the community that helps cancer patients pull through. Although she lost her husband to cancer, she knows that she always has his support.
“He’ll be walking beside me tonight,” she said.
Last year alone, the American Cancer Society connected with 1,026 cancer patients, providing 583 rides to and from treatment, 205 nights of free lodging, and more than 3,000 services during treatment.
“Every dollar that is raised moves us one step closer to a world free from the pain and suffering of cancer,” Anderson said.
If you would like to get involved with Relay for Life of Portage to lend your strength to the fight against cancer, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/portagein
6450 US Highway 6
Portage, IN 46368
(219) - 763 - 8112
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