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Race against cancer begins now - Bay Ridge Relay for Life gets a jump start on annual June event

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The Bay Ridge Relay for Life will not be held till June, but organizers have already begun outreach for the popular annual event. On Tuesday, January 16, from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Committee of 2007 will hold a “meet and greet,” at St. Ephrem’s Church, 929 Bay Ridge Parkway, aimed at increasing participation in the event, which will be held, this year, on June 16th, at the Fort Hamilton High School athletic field. “The whole idea is to bring people in who have no idea what the Relay is,” noted June Johnson, a volunteer for Relay who spoke about the event during the December meeting of Community Board 10, held at Shore Hill, 9000 Shore Road. Relay, which is now in its ninth year in the community, is one of approximately 4,300 such events held around the world each year to raise money for cancer research and patient support. This year, Johnson added, funds raised through the Relay will be used to support a hotel being opened by ACS in Manhattan later this year. The hotel, said Johnson, will provide accommodations, “To 250 families who need to be in Manhattan for treatment. It’s not only for out-of-towners. It’s for all of the boroughs.” For those who are unfamiliar with Relay, it takes a specific format no matter where it is held. An overnight event, it kicks off with the survivors lap, in which cancer survivors walk around the track. Following that, survivors walk around the track with family members and caregivers. When that second lap is completed, the event is open to everyone, and participants continue to walk around the track over the course of the night. A key aspect of the event is the Ceremony of Hope, with luminaries are lit in the names of survivors and in the memory of those who have lost their lives to cancer. The first Relay for Life occurred in 1985. Ac-cording to ACS, one in every 10 Americans has participated in the event. Since its inception, it has raised over $1 billion. Ninety percent of the money raised by the event goes directly into cancer re-search and programs. Besides the United States, Relay for Life is now held in 21 other countries. All of ACS’s patient support services are free of charge. A toll-free hotline, 1-800-ACS-2345 that is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Questions about participating in Relay for Life can also be directed to the hotline. The issue of cancer is a particularly significant one in the Bay Ridge area. According to ACS, studies have indicated that the neighborhood has the highest rate of breast cancer in Brooklyn, the second highest rate of colon cancer and the second highest rate of cancer death in the borough.

Posted 7:02 pm, October 10, 2011
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