LAKE PLACID Those who have lost their lives to cancer and those who battle on will be recognized during a special event at the Olympic Speed Skating Oval next week in Lake Placid.
The Tri-Lakes Relay for Life, to be held on Sept. 29, will offer an opportunity for everyone to join in the fight against cancer. Each participant will join a team and take turns walking through the day and evening on a track aglow with candles, honoring those currently coping with cancer and remembering those lost to cancer.
Currently there are about 20 teams planning on taking part in the Tri-Lakes event, which lasts from 10 a.m.-10 p.m.. Teams consist of 7 to 15 members, made up of family, friends and coworkers.
In Westport, Phil Mero has spent weeks coordinating his team, which celebrates the life of his sister, Annette Mero Wisehart, who passed away from breast and liver cancer in 2001.
Meros team has participated in several Relay for Life events in honor of his sister, a native of Westport who went on to become a cancer awareness advocate in Vermont. She was active in founding the Relay for Life event in Essex Junction, VT.
Last year Meros team participated for the first time in the Tri-Lakes event. He said he enjoyed it, especially since he knew many of the participants and he was also surprised at how many people locally had been touched by cancer.
Mero also lost his father, former Westport supervisor Reginald Mero, to lung cancer in 2005. The Tri-Lakes event is relatively new, and Mero hoped it would continue to grow.
Id love to see as many people there offering support, said Mero. Its a great event and we always enjoy participating.
Several teams, like Celebrate Annette, are welcoming other individuals to sign up and can be contacted through the website. There is a $10 entry fee to join the relay, but participants are encouraged to raise $125 by soliciting donations and sponsorship. Those interested in more information or in registering should visit http://www.acsevents.org/relay\Ny/trilakes .
At the event, teams set up displays and can hold their own fundraisers. Celebrate Annette plans on raffling tickets for a quilt, created by Meros wife, Kerry. Mero, a member of the Shriners Clown Organization, also plans on making balloon animals.
But joining a team isnt required to show support for the cause.
You do not have to be on a team to stop by and enjoy the day with us. There will be food, games and music going on the entire day, said Joan Brown, a representative of the American Cancer Society.
Recognizing the survivors, remembering victims
Brown said there were two special times during the event. The first is the survivor ceremony where we honor as many survivors as we can. This is part of the opening ceremony at 10 a.m.
We would like to invite any survivor who is reading this to attend the event or if you know of a survivor please invite them to the relay, said Brown.
Survivors can register by calling Willie Sheridan, the chairperson for the relay at 327-3562 or e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org . or Joan Brown at email@example.com or 297-7787. Survivor registration will also take place the day of the event at 9 a.m.
Brown said the other highlight would be the Luminaria Ceremony, which begins at 9 p.m.
This is an event that we tell people they need to experience not just see, said Brown.
Luminaria bags are sold for $5 and feature the name of loved ones, and then set up to line the oval. The bags can be purchased in honor of a survivor or in memory of a loved one lost to cancer.
The money raised during the event is used for research, education, patient services and advocacy.
Without research dollars we would not be making the strides we have made, said Brown.
Mero said he had faith that a cure for cancer would be discovered. While he acknowledged that finding a cure for cancer is difficult, he holds hope that it will be found.
A cure wasnt discovered in time to help (Annette), but hopefully it will be in time to help others, said Mero.