Maire: American Cancer Society “Relay for Life” event
It was a chilly morning as the teams began to arrive and set up their tents for the twenty-four hour Relay for Life in Fowlerville, Michigan. For Mary Kraft the Senior Community Representative for the American Cancer Society and Corinne Jelker the event chairperson today would mark the culmination of another year’s worth of hard work. The Relay for Life in Fowlerville set a goal of raising more than $60,000 for cancer research and at the start of the day they were at $40,000. Each participating team worked to raise money in honor of a loved one.
Team “Sarcoma Stompers” was the team made up of friends and family of Maire Kent and they walked in support of her as she continues her fight against sarcoma. Maire’s Aunt Colleen Heraty help organized the team and her good friend Crystal Johnson planned out the team’s t-shirt designs. Even Poppy, Crystal’s dog, walked in support. Another good friend Connie Norman and others also showed unified support for Maire. Her Uncle Mike Heraty, a retired veteran of the United States Navy, was overcome with emotion to be here today for Maire. He shared with us what the day meant to him as well as how Maire has touched his life.
As the walk began Mike, Crystal and the rest of the team gathered around Maire and made their way around the track. It was a beautiful opening for the event that featured a “thank-you” to all of the volunteers for the event and one for all of the caregivers as well. That was followed by a beautiful rendition of our national anthem that was inspiring as always and emotional. A brother and sister addressed the crowd of nearly 200 people and shared their heart touching story of how she saved her brother 7 years ago by donating her bone marrow. They were in high school at the time and set the tone for the stories and people that were in attendance. The survivor walk started things off as the Fowlerville High School Marching band played and led the group around the first lap.
Maire was overjoyed by the experience and very touched, as we were, by the love and support of those with her. The event would last for 24 hours (!) until noon the next day. Maire would stay until about 3 very tired. Even though she had to physically go home and rest, she was there in the hearts of her friends and family that stayed until the closing ceremony the next day.
Relay for Life began in 1985 with one man, Dr. Gordy Klatt, who walked and ran for 24 hours to raise money for cancer research in Tacoma, Washington. He raised $27,000 for the American Cancer Society. Since then the event has grown into a series of worldwide events that has raised nearly $5 billion. With events like the ones in Fowlerville on this Saturday in September it is clear just how cancer touches everyone everywhere. To find an event in your area and help the fight against cancer, visit http://www.relayforlife.org/.
The entire day was summed up by a little boy and the sign he carried as he walked, "fight like a girl!"
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