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Relay for Life brings awareness to the West End

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    Volunteers sell raffle tickets at the West End Relay for Life. From left are Marijke Picca, Russell Berger and Jean Helbo. See a photo gallery at LEVI JIORLE/TIMES NEWS

Published June 04. 2019 01:05PM

The American Cancer Society held a Relay for Life fundraiser in the West End this past Saturday. It was held on the Pleasant Valley High School football field, allowing participants to walk around the surrounding track.

Cory McKeever, a teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary, started participating in Relay for Life when her children were on the Boy Scouts relay team. She later joined the committee, which led her to help continue Relay for Life in the West End.

“A lot of people don’t know what the American Cancer Society does,” McKeever said. “They don’t know what they offer to our community. That is one of my bigger goals. The raising of money to help with these programs, but to get the information out there to the community is one of my big reasons.”

Susan Geiger, another Pleasant Valley teacher, was on Cory’s team. She hoped to spread awareness through her participation as well.

“I think it’s great that a lot of the students from the high school participate. Get them involved, and let them know what they should be aware of and what they should be looking out for,” Geiger said.

Both Geiger and McKeever have personally been affected by cancer, in particular with their family and friends. They said this was a major reason for participating in Relay for Life. They also enjoy the camaraderie and student involvement the relay brings every year.

Lisa Hoey was the catalyst for this event. She is an event staff partner from the American Cancer Society.

“Our job at relay is to empower a community with programs, prevention and education,” Hoey said. “Early detection is key. We want to make sure that, here in our community, everyone knows where they can go to get help.”

Like Geiger and McKeever, her life has been affected by cancer. She lost her best friend to the disease, and her husband is a cancer survivor.

“I’m here for my friend, stayed for my husband, continue to be here for my mom and brother, who has recently been diagnosed,” Hoey said.

Her favorite part of Relay for Life is the morning before the event is over. Despite the participants being there for almost 24 hours by this point, she said that everybody is “too inspired to be tired.” She credited the teams for being one of the most important aspects of the relay, too.

Clues to the Cure was one of the teams that participated. Team member Lisa Williams talked about the sincerity of the American Cancer Society.

“The hardest thing, even for me in the past, is when you give to an organization that you know for sure what it’s going to,” Williams said. “This is legitimate. You know it’s going to the American Cancer Society.”

The Majestic Athletic Stompers was the team that raised the most money: $10,842. Overall, all the teams together raised $34,201.

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