FOXBORO Around the athletic fields track of Ahern Middle School was the can-do spirit of more than 150 participants in the annual Relay For Life on Saturday afternoon, some of whom were cancer survivors who refused to be beaten.
The event, which began Saturday and will wrap up Sunday, is expected to raise $30,000 to fight cancer.
Event coordinator and American Cancer Society representative Louise Fonteyne, along with the rest of the crowd, could barely hold back their emotions as Foxboro resident and cancer survivor Mary Waltuck shared her story at the 3 p.m. opening ceremony.
Waltuck was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1982, then with a recurrence of the disease in 1999.
I am stronger than I look, Waltuck said. I am still here, but my battle is not comparable to so many survivors here today. I did not fight this alone … all this makes me want to still pay it forward.
One other survivor, Michelle Cannistraro of Douglas, could not contain her tears as she listened to the story of Waltucks journey.
Cannistraro is still waiting for her numbers count to come back in July.
Its pretty emotional (to be here), she said before the ceremony began.
The survivors, wearing purple T-shirts, then led the first lap around the track as September by Earth, Wind and Fire played from the deejay booth.
Along the track, luminaria bags displayed various messages. One read, In Memory of Aunt Judy, while another said Francis Nelson, Stay Strong.
Bringing up the rear of the procession was Maureen Delaney of Foxboro, a 10-year cancer survivor.
The thing is, a diagnosis of cancer makes you feel really alone, Delaney said. But the thing about Relay For Life is, demonstrates that theres hope, and you should be living in the moment, the right now.
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