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The Telegram
  • Dolgeville community comes together for Relay

  • Cancer survivors, their caregivers and other participants walked the track and teams set up tents and canopies and conducted fundraisers as the community came together for the fourth annual Relay for Life of Dolgeville.

    And they had their own reasons for taking part in the 24-hour event.

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  • Cancer survivors, their caregivers and other participants walked the track and teams set up tents and canopies and conducted fundraisers as the community came together for the fourth annual Relay for Life of Dolgeville.
    And they had their own reasons for taking part in the 24-hour event.
    Members of Papa's Pride first became involved because of the founder of the event, Nick Stacy.
    “He used to work with us at the roller rink,” said Nancy Busch, team captain. When her father-in-law died from the disease, the family decided to continue his fight.
    The team was conducting a Messages to Heaven balloon sale, said team member Lydia Mahardy. People made a donation, wrote a message and all of the balloons were scheduled to be launched at 7 p.m.
    Bill and Joan Spakowski were both survivors and caregivers and were on hand for the survivors' lap, which marks the traditional start of each Relay event. 
    Bill Spakowski said he had first been diagnosed with cancer in 2009. “I had two cancers and I just finished my last treatment two weeks ago,” he added. He said he and his wife took care of each other during their treatments, but noted she “took care of me more than I took care of her.”
    Gina Jaquay, event chairwoman, said she had found this year's event invigorating. “I'm so proud to be a part of this with all of you,” she told the crowd during the opening ceremony. “I have my Relay family that came together to fight this disease.”
    Stacy said he initially got involved because his mother died of cancer and he still misses her. “Now its not just about what I lost, but what I have - a great community and a great Relay family,” he said.
    Caren Price was busy selling T-shirts, hats and stained glass angels and ribbons Saturday afternoon. While the hats and shirts were ACS items, the stained glass angels and ribbons in a variety of colors were her creations. She has been working with stained glass for about 15 years, she said, and started making pink stained glass items for the American Cancer Society's Making Strides Against Breast Cancer about seven years ago after her sister-in-law in California died of the disease. Later she added the other colors to represent the other types of cancer. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
    “I've done about 2,000 of them already,” she said.
    Sunshine greeted the teams as they set up tents and canopies and displays Saturday morning.
    “We have beautiful weather,” said Steph Boucher, event staff partner for the American Cancer Society. She added 23 teams had signed up to take part in the Relay at James A. Green High School in Dolgeville, but she didn't know how much money the event would bring in. Teams were continuing their fundraising during the Relay with raffles, bake sales and other activities.
    Page 2 of 2 - Local school children participated in the efforts by conducting their own mini-relays and donating the funds they raised to the American Cancer Society through the Dolgeville Relay for Life, Boucher said. Dolgeville Elementary School children held their relay Friday while at Oppenheim-Ephratah Central School, a mini-relay was held a couple of weeks ago, Boucher said.
    Posters covered with cutouts of hands were hung on the chain link fence along the school track. Dolgeville students sold the cutouts for 50 cents each and raised some $763 for the American Cancer Society. Elementary School Principal Sue Butler was on hand to present the check to Boucher.
    In addition to helping the American Cancer Society, these events help to educate children about cancer, according to Boucher. “It may be the first time anyone has talked with these kids about cancer,” she said. The event might also be a discussion starter for children with a loved one who has had cancer.
    Relay for Life began in 1985 when one man circled a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000. This year, Relay for Life has expanded to 5,200 communities in more than 25 countries worldwide.
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