- The dreaded "C[ancer]" word that past generations were even afraid to say aloud, is the focus of the remarkable synergy between the American Cancer Society
(ACS) and the South Fork Relay for Life (RFL). These two organizations have banded together to, in the words
of Diane Nicholson
, ACS Staff Partner, "Fuel community members to move forward in the mission to save all of Suffolk County (and elsewhere) and its community members from having to suffer with cancer."
Wolffer Estate Vineyard's Roman Roth who donated the venue and wines, and raffle prizes in support of the evening. (Joe Strand)
With 17 ACS staff members, the ACS/SFRFL partnership and its formidable allies were on hand at the Wolffer Estate
Vineyard in Sagaponack on Thursday, November 17, 2011, as part of the Corporate Kick-Off to celebrate, focus, and solicit community members and corporations to participate and/or sponsor the April 20, 2012, Relay For Life event to be held at SYS
in Southampton. There will be a Committee Kick-Off event held on November 30 at Southampton High School a well.
This year's fourth annual event will include walk teams of eight to 15 members who will relay walk from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. to stomp out cancer in our area. Caryn Lockard
, South Fork Relay Event Chair, revealed, "There are 20 Suffolk County teams, and this began back in 1985, with one man who ran around a track for 24 hours to raise awareness. We are now about 5,800 teams globally. This corporate kick-off event is an appeal to local businesses to sponsor a team or become a team to help with awareness, early detection and prevention of cancer."
The evening reflected the power of volunteerism and commitment to community with the venue and wines provided courtesy of Roman Roth
Estate Vineyard; tasty food by Delaney Oser
of Thyme & Again (and member of the Walk With Me team); music by well known local musician Jim Turner
, and members of the relay teams, cancer survivors and community members.
South Fork Relay for Life 2012 Chair Caryn Lockard is all smiles as she addresses guests at Thursday's gathering. (Joe Strand)
Moving, inspirational and sobering speeches were given by not only Nicoholson, Lockard and Roth, but by cancer survivor and Bridgehampton resident (for over 20 years), Lorraine Sabalja
, who captivated guests with her Survivor/Caregiver Story while itemizing the financial and emotional benefits rendered her and her family by staying at Hope Lodge
while undergoing treatment in New York City
, eliciting tears and cheers from listeners. Sabalja concluded by thanking her husband Philip
. Dr. James Brady
, a plastic surgeon addressed guests as to the purpose of the relay teams, and volunteer France Posener
(and Walk With Me team member) stirred guests with her commitment and focus to the goals of both RFL and ACS.
The purpose of RFL as indicated by Lockard in the evening's program "...is a community driven event that helps a community join foces with the American Cancer Society and takes positive action in the fight against cancer. RFL celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those lost to the dreaded disease, and fights back as a community to raise much needed funds and awareness to help eliminate cancer as a major health concern." Nicholson too indicated, "ACS's purpose is to help people get well, stay well, find cures and fight back."
The evening revealed a perfect match between volunteers, relay team members, private supporters and business members who all mingled with old and new friends, in the noble common goal of eradicating a feared and heart breaking disease that has managed to cast its dark shadow on the lives of so many.
Alexis Mayer with Corcoran Real Estate, plastic surgeon Dr. James Brady and Thyme & Again caterer Delaney Oser show their support for the South Fork Relay for Life and ACS. (Joe Strand)
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.