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Relay for Life kicks off to fight cancer

January 30, 2011|By DAVE MCMILLION | davem@herald-mail.com

HAGERSTOWN — A 12-year survivor of breast cancer, Marcia Bortz is ready to see cancer eradicated.

“It’s time to find a cure,” said the Hagerstown resident, who was among about 60 people who showed up at a kickoff for the annual Relay for Life of Washington County Sunday at Western Enterprise Fire Co.

Started by a West Coast doctor in 1985, Relay for Life is now an international event that has raised $3.86 billion to battle cancer since it was started, Rob Lewis, committee chairperson for this year’s Relay for Life, told those gathered Sunday.

At Sunday’s kickoff, those interested in participating in this year’s Relay for Life at Hagerstown Fairgrounds Park on June 17 could learn more about the event.

People were encouraged to visit various stations in the fire hall to learn about the history of Relay for Life, how the money is used and other highlights.

Although some people raise money through Relay for Life by walking in an event that goes through the night, participants raise funds in a variety of other ways, including through bake sales and basket bingo, said Cathy Beckley-Thomas, community manager for the local American Cancer Society office.

Bortz said she has been participating in Relay for Life for several years, starting when she was on a Relay for Life team through her church.

Lewis said he became involved in Relay for Life after his brother-in-law was diagnosed with liver cancer.

“Each year we grow, raising more money,” Lewis said Sunday.

More than 750 people participated in last year’s event, which raised more than $175,000, Lewis said. He said he hopes more than $200,000 will be raised this year.

The June 17 event is one of two Relay for Life events scheduled this year in the county.

On April 15, Relay for Life of Washington County Colleges will be held at Hagerstown Community College’s Athletic, Recreation and Community Center. The college relay for life will be for people associated with Hagerstown Community College, Kaplan University and the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

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