During the all-night fund-raiser, teams spend the night relaying a track in honor of cancer victims. The event kicks off at 5 p.m. with a cancer survivor's lap."That's where we invite everyone to come and take a walk at least once," said Leslie Orlovsky, director of special events for the Rego Park office for the American Cancer Society. "It's one of the most beautiful parts of the event."Last year 500 volunteers raised more than $85,000. The first Juniper Valley relay was marred by rain but was still a success, Orlovsky said, with 150 people raising about $55,000. Registration costs $10 but is free for cancer survivors and their families. Most teams have five to 10 members and are made up of local families, groups of friends or representatives from area businesses, Orlovsky said. It's a spirited and moving event, she said, that features live entertainment, a DJ and a candle lighting ceremony at 10:30 p.m. The thousands of candles are put in paper bags and placed around the track as inspiration for the walkers. "If you came there at 3 in the morning, you'd see people walking," Orlovsky said. "People dress up in pajamas and wear funny hats - anything to stay awake." There are several ways to participate. You can join a team, volunteer to help run the event or make a donation to the society. Police will patrol the site for safety and smoking and alcohol are banned."It's not that people who smoke aren't welcome - we want to get them to quit," Orlovsky said. Cancer was responsible for a quarter of all deaths in the United States in 2002, roughly 557,000 people. The American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to raising cancer awareness and prevention, has been conducting the relays since the mid-1980s. It held one in Shea Stadium last month and is launching its first annual relay at Fort Totten in Bayside on June 18.The society is holding an informational meeting for the Juniper Valley relay at 7 p.m. May 17 at the Ridgewood Moose Lodge at 72-15 Grand Ave. in Maspeth. Anyone is welcome to attend. For more information, call the Rego Park society office at 718-263-2225 or visit its Web site www.cancer.org.Reach Matt Monks at 718-229-0300, Ext. 156. or email@example.com
©2005 Community News Group
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