Around the track they went – teams large and small, couples and individuals – walking or running  in the cause for cancer-free life.


 Around the track they went – teams large and small, couples and individuals – walking or running  in the cause for cancer-free life.
The 2010 Greater Lake Region Relay for Life raised $65,656 for the American Cancer Society. Held this past weekend from 10 a.m. Saturday through 10 a.m. Sunday, the relay this year was held at the Wallenpaupack Area High School track. It combined the relay that had been held at the Honesdale High School track for several years with the one at Wallenpaupack.
Teams organized to collect donations, which have been posted online. Individuals walk in these relays as well; their private thoughts and prayers no doubt reflecting on loved ones lost to cancer, loved ones now enduring the good fight, and giving thanks for loved ones who have overcome. Others who often participate are cancer survivors.
Their stories vary, their background differ, but together as one, they made a stand for hope in the midst of the many forms of cancer.
Brooke Wilkins, a senior at Wallenpaupack Area High School, was the captain for WAHS 2010 Team. They raised $5,192 for the American Cancer Society. The team consisted of nine seniors who banded together and raised money.
“Everyone knew at least one person affected by cancer,” she said. “That was a great motivation.”  None of them did it for their required senior project. Rather, they did it by choice, which she said was just great.
“We walked approximately 200 miles in 24 hours,” said Wilkins.  They met and exceeded their financial goal of $5,000. About $700 was collected from students; their families gave their support, and  a good donation came from Cove Haven Resort, she noted.
“It brought us together as a class and as a team,” said Wilkins. “It was a nice blast, the last thing we do together before graduation.” She added they hope to be back next year.
Their team included Katlyn Beaton, Zoe Foy, Allie Intartaglio, Joseph Mastroianni, Nora Pavone, Cody Ragonese, Amanda Wierbowski, Grace Wildermuth and Brooke Wilkins.
Tonyehn Verkitus, Community Income Development Specialist for the American Cancer Society, said that combining the two relays proved more efficient, and they were able to have more activities and entertainment. Participation was also up, more than either relay had when on their own.
She said they also thought having two relays so near each other geographically, might “over-tap” the community when asking for funds. Their total money raised was a bit less than the combined total of the two from last year, which she attributes to the economy. The 2010 total did surpass what they raised at Wallenpaupack in 2009, and on average, the teams collected more this year.
Funding raised supports the American Cancer Society’s mission of research, advocacy, education and local services, she stated.
The Delaware Valley Relay for Life, held at the Delaware Valley High School track near Milford, is schedule June 5-6. Verkitus stated that they always welcome more teams and volunteers to assist at relays.
To contact the American Cancer Society locally, call 1-888-227-5445, Option 3, or visit www.realyforlife.org/pagreaterlakeregion.

Top Relay for Life teams
According to the American Cancer Society web site, the top five teams at the Greater Lake Region Relay for Life and how much they raised just prior to the May 22-23 event, included:
Good Guys, $5,745; WAHS 2010, $5,192; Pink Posse 1, $4,166; Pure Energy, $3,342.91 and Team Hope, $2,583. There were 18 teams participating.
The top five participants in terms of fund-raising were:
Ellen Strauskulage, Good Guys, $1,470; Brooke Wilkins, WAHS 2010, $965; Beth Hoffman, Team Hope, $840; David Miller, Good Guys, $725 and Donna Morris, Good Guys, $610. There were 225 participants registered for the event.
For a complete list of teams and top participants online, see www.realyforlife.org/pagreaterlakeregion.