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Cancer Survivors Bond At 24-Hour Relay For Life

June 25, 2007 — The governor’s description of Relay for Life proved to be prophetic. “This event, for the next 24 hours, represents a tremendous cohesion in our community,” said Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr. at the event’s opening ceremony at 4 p.m. on Saturday. During these 24 hours, the community will bond like we’ve never bonded before during the previous 365 days, he said.
As the governor spoke, only a few dozen participants had arrived at the Charlotte Amalie High School track for the Cancer Society’s main fundraiser, mostly to set up their team’s tents. But the closer the sun got to setting, the bigger the crowd grew. By the time organizers prepared for the 9 p.m. luminaria ceremony, where hundreds of lighted candles lined the track in memory of those who died from or survived cancer, there were hundreds of participants at the event.
“It’s not easy,” nine-year cancer survivor Rosalyn King said of her battle with the disease at the luminaria ceremony. But she decided she had to fight. “I had places to go, things to do and people to see,” she said. But her courage was not there from the beginning. “At first I was really, really scared, although I acted as though I wasn’t scared,” she admitted about her 1998 diagnoses of breast cancer. But King worked up the courage to move forward, something she encouraged everyone battling cancer to do. “All the survivors, keep on surviving,” were her words of advice.
After King’s remarks, cancer survivors began their second walk around the track, this time in complete darkness except for the lighted candles. The first survivors’ lap was held at 4:30 p.m. and was led by Natasha Frett, the poster child of this year’s event. Following the solemn nighttime survivors’ lap, the jubilance of the event returned when Diana Ross’ spirited “I Will Survive” played from the loudspeakers.
By 10 p.m. the track was abuzz with simultaneous activity. An intense volleyball game was taking place in the center of the track, dozens of team participants were doing the relay around the track, many children were lining up for their chance inside one of the two inflatable bouncers, and an ample audience was watching the Nisky Moravian Dance Group’s praise-dance at the main stage. But even more people milled around the center of the track visiting team tents, spending time with family, catching up with old friends and listening to some survivors tell experiences of their battle with the disease. The cohesion that Gov. deJongh spoke about was in full effect.
As the night deepened, the crowds swelled and the numbers of activities grew and became more competitive. An intense game of adult tug-of-war resulted in several re-matches. One of the most competitive activities was the “Avocado Dance Challenge,” where about seven participants ranging from ages 4 to 17 competed as the dance’s originators, the JDPP Jammers, performed live.
“Let’s have fun today. It’s for a cause, but let’s have fun,” Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis had said earlier in the day. That everyone seemed to do. Francis asked everyone to give to the Cancer Society. The registration fee is $1,500 per team Francis said, “but that’s not the limit. If we can do a little more than $1,500 let’s do it. If you feel it in your pocket, write that check,” he said, reminding participants that the money raised remains in the territory to help people who are fighting the disease.
The Relay for Life is the St. Thomas’ chapter of the American Cancer Society main fund raiser. Many organizations performed at the event including the St. Thomas Majorettes, the Lockhart School African Caribbean Dancers and Quadrille Dancers, Girls on the Go, Champagne & Roses models and the Seventh Day Adventist Church Choir.
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June 25, 2007 -- The governor’s description of Relay for Life proved to be prophetic. “This event, for the next 24 hours, represents a tremendous cohesion in our community,” said Gov. John P. deJongh, Jr. at the event’s opening ceremony at 4 p.m. on Saturday. During these 24 hours, the community will bond like we’ve never bonded before during the previous 365 days, he said.
As the governor spoke, only a few dozen participants had arrived at the Charlotte Amalie High School track for the Cancer Society’s main fundraiser, mostly to set up their team’s tents. But the closer the sun got to setting, the bigger the crowd grew. By the time organizers prepared for the 9 p.m. luminaria ceremony, where hundreds of lighted candles lined the track in memory of those who died from or survived cancer, there were hundreds of participants at the event.
“It’s not easy,” nine-year cancer survivor Rosalyn King said of her battle with the disease at the luminaria ceremony. But she decided she had to fight. “I had places to go, things to do and people to see,” she said. But her courage was not there from the beginning. “At first I was really, really scared, although I acted as though I wasn’t scared,” she admitted about her 1998 diagnoses of breast cancer. But King worked up the courage to move forward, something she encouraged everyone battling cancer to do. “All the survivors, keep on surviving,” were her words of advice.
After King’s remarks, cancer survivors began their second walk around the track, this time in complete darkness except for the lighted candles. The first survivors’ lap was held at 4:30 p.m. and was led by Natasha Frett, the poster child of this year’s event. Following the solemn nighttime survivors’ lap, the jubilance of the event returned when Diana Ross’ spirited “I Will Survive” played from the loudspeakers.
By 10 p.m. the track was abuzz with simultaneous activity. An intense volleyball game was taking place in the center of the track, dozens of team participants were doing the relay around the track, many children were lining up for their chance inside one of the two inflatable bouncers, and an ample audience was watching the Nisky Moravian Dance Group’s praise-dance at the main stage. But even more people milled around the center of the track visiting team tents, spending time with family, catching up with old friends and listening to some survivors tell experiences of their battle with the disease. The cohesion that Gov. deJongh spoke about was in full effect.
As the night deepened, the crowds swelled and the numbers of activities grew and became more competitive. An intense game of adult tug-of-war resulted in several re-matches. One of the most competitive activities was the “Avocado Dance Challenge,” where about seven participants ranging from ages 4 to 17 competed as the dance’s originators, the JDPP Jammers, performed live.
“Let’s have fun today. It’s for a cause, but let’s have fun,” Lt. Gov. Gregory Francis had said earlier in the day. That everyone seemed to do. Francis asked everyone to give to the Cancer Society. The registration fee is $1,500 per team Francis said, “but that’s not the limit. If we can do a little more than $1,500 let’s do it. If you feel it in your pocket, write that check,” he said, reminding participants that the money raised remains in the territory to help people who are fighting the disease.
The Relay for Life is the St. Thomas’ chapter of the American Cancer Society main fund raiser. Many organizations performed at the event including the St. Thomas Majorettes, the Lockhart School African Caribbean Dancers and Quadrille Dancers, Girls on the Go, Champagne & Roses models and the Seventh Day Adventist Church Choir.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.