BERKELEY – Cancer has been present in all of their lives for years. Spending a weekend fighting it was nothing.
The Berkeley-Lacey Relay For Life hosted 30 teams in Veterans Park in Bayville. The event started on a Saturday afternoon, and went overnight into Sunday morning.
The 14-hour length of the event is symbolic of the journey that a person goes through after being diagnosed, going through a dark time, and then dawning into the light of hope, said Barry Bendar, who was one of the speakers at the opening ceremony.
As of press time, the amount raised was more than $58,000. The top fundraising team was Team Callis, clocking in at about $15,000.
Roxanne Stephens, event lead, said the money raised will go toward research, education, and services, such as rides for treatment.
During the opening ceremony, at around 2 p.m., Stephens greeted the friends, family, and coworkers of people who have had cancer touch their lives. She encouraged them to share their stories and continue to fight.
“Cancer thrives on silence, complacency, and business as usual,” she said.
According to the American Cancer Society, there will be 16,000 cancer-related deaths in New Jersey this year, she said.
After the ceremony, the first lap was for survivors. The second was for caregivers. The third had teams carrying their banners. Booths around the path had carnival-themed food and games. Music and activities were scheduled throughout the night. Some laps were given themes. There was a poignant luminary service scheduled for 10 p.m.