Would you walk 400 meters to fundraise against cancer? Organizers of Relay for Life, an annual cancer walk-a-thon, hope the answer is a resounding yes.
This year, event organizers in Port Washington are teaming with coaches to map out a 400 meter track at for the June 16 fundraiser. The regulation size track will let participants gauge how many miles they walk during the event.
Schreiber track and field coach Jeremiah Pope and varsity football coach Jamel Ramsey, who also co-own Port Fitness Studio at 153 Main Street, joined event organizers to measure out the field in advance of the June event.
“You can get a lot of miles in – burn some calories,” said Pope. The event, where teams or individuals, walk around a track through the night kicks off on a Saturday evening and runs through the night, concluding with a Sunday morning breakfast.
While many participants pitch tents and walk through the night, event organizers stress that sleeping out or pulling an all-nighter isn't required. For that matter, neither is walking: spectators and cheerleaders are just as welcome. The family-friendly event includes kids’ activities, live music and inspirational speeches.
The event also includes an annual survivor/caregiver dinner, where family, friends and medical personnel who care for cancer patients are feted in thanks for their efforts. All food is donated by local restaurants. Volunteers act as wait staff and provide babysitting services so caregivers can enjoy needed downtime.
“We always look for new ways to support our survivors and caregivers who give so much of themselves to Relay,” said Nora Johnson, who is co-chairing Relay for Life for the third year. “This year we're changing the Survivor Dinner from a pre-event buffet, into a dessert reception in the Survivor Cafe, which will be set up right on the field near the Relay track and more accessible to all.”
"This year Port Relay honors, ‘the caregiver in each of us,’” added Relay co-chair Lee Anne Vetrone-Timothy. “In ways large and small, we are all caregivers. Acts of kindness and support mean so much to someone going through the challenges of a cancer diagnosis. This year, we are pleased to spotlight and encourage those who give so much.”
Relay for Life raises funds for the American Cancer Society; last year’s event raised approximately $96,000. The Port Washington Relay is the largest of its kind in Nassau County, raising nearly $1.2 million since its inception.