WEST ORANGE, NJ – The annual Relay for Life held at West Orange High School’s Suriano Stadium on May 20 brought students and community members together to raise $37,967.97 in the fight against cancer.
35 teams and 352 participants walked, cheered, and enjoyed a beautiful night as they supported survivors and raised funds for the American Cancer Society.
Music and activities, including the triumphant Survivor Lap that kicked off the Opening Ceremonies, were held throughout the 12 hour event. Cancer survivors Dr. Joanne Pollara and Deb Rees of Kelly Elementary School joined in on the Survivor’s Lap, including many West Orange residents. Local high school band "Citrus" performed.
Team Groves, comprised of officers from the West Orange Police Department, flipped burgers and hot dogs to raise funds for the Officer Timothy C. Groves Memorial Scholarship Fund.
Senator Richard Codey greeted the walkers and survivors, noting that his own wife, Mary Jo, was a cancer survivor. Superintendent Jeff Rutzky and board member Sandra Mordecai walked while Board President Laura Lab and town councilpersons Michelle Casalino and Jerry Guarino helped with registration.
Several West Orange High School and local teams participated, including the Jr. AFROTC, the Walkaholics, the Holy Walkamolies, and the Roosevelt Rough Riders, the Purple Penguins, Kathy’s Buds, the Walking Wounded, the St. Barnabas Cancer Crusaders, the Redwood Relayers, Moore to Life, the Royals, Cory’s Haircut Team, and many more. Teams walked in honor of those in their lives that have been affected by cancer and hope that their efforts would help to someday find a cure.
Rebekah Pedo of the Walkaholics, who were walking in honor of WOHS senior Jimmy Tiernan, explained.
“Jimmy had Chronic Myeloid Leukemia,” said Pedo. “His chemo has been completed, but he won’t be able to graduate with the class - due to the intense treatment he cannot be around large groups of people until mid-July. But he is cancer-free!”