BY JACOB WINTERFIELD
The Volunteer Club at County College of Morris is planning involvement in the Relay For Life of Parsippany on June 8- 9. The Relay For Life is a fundraising event that raises money for people affected by all forms of cancer.
CCM Registrar, Michele M. Dunn contacted Volunteer Club President, Lina Maria Alfonso about the event. Dunn was a former participant in the Relay For Life and also a cancer survivor. The Volunteer Club had participated in the American Cancer Society Breast Cancer Walk, and Dunn said she thought it would be beneficial to notify Alfonso about The Relay For Life.
“The year I did my first walk was after I had just finished my treatment,” Dunn said. “It’s been over five years since my treatment and I’d love to do another event now that I’m considered cured.”
Dunn suffered from Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer of the lymphoid tissue, which affects the lymph nodes, spleen, and other organs of the immune system, according to the A.D.A.M Medical Encyclopedia. It took 10 months to diagnose Dunn with the disease, and during that time her father was also diagnosed with cancer.
“When I was being treated for my cancer, my father passed away,” Dunn said. “I was battling cancer and mourning the loss of my father at the same time, it wasn’t easy, but I had plenty of great support especially from the faculty and staff here on campus.”
According to the American Cancer Society, the event consists of relay teams camping out overnight and having members of the team walk or run around a track or path at a local high school, park or fairground. The first lap of the event is called the survivor’s lap in which, all the cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track.
Once the sun has set on the Relay For Life event, the luminaria ceremony takes place. A luminaria is a small bag illuminated by a candle. During the ceremony, the luminaria are used to light up the track by creating a chain of illuminated bags side by side. The luminaria is personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer.
American Cancer Society speaker, Virginia Fasulo met with the Volunteer Club at their meeting on Feb 28 to discuss preparation for the Relay For Life. The Volunteer Club would like to use this event as an opportunity to raise awareness of the possibility of having Relay For Life on CCM campus next year. Alfonso will be walking for her grandfather during the fundraiser.
“My grandfather was diagnosed with cancer in 2009 and passed away on his birthday in 2010,” Alfonso said. “I would like as many people as possible to come join in the event.”