Far from being the town that never sleeps, Secaucus generally tucks in for the evening shortly after the nightly weather report. But each year there is one night that residents – or at least a few committed souls – burn the midnight oil.
On Friday, May 8, 20 teams will walk through the night for Relay for Life of Secaucus, a local benefit event for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
This marks the third year Secaucus will participate in the ACS’ annual fundraiser. Proceeds go to cancer research and treatment for local residents battling the disease.
Proceeds help local sufferers
First conceived in 1985, Relay for Life is an overnight walk-a-thon and is the ACS’ signature fundraising event. Teams of people register for Relay, with each team member making a commitment to raise $100, in addition to paying a $10 registration fee. Each team can include up to 15 participants.
The Secaucus Relay will kick off Friday, May 8 at 4 p.m. at the rink in Buchmuller Park and will continue until 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
Relay for Life of Secaucus raised $70,000 in 2007 and another $30,000 last year. Event co-chairs Amy Fine-Benedek and Susan Pirro would like to see this year’s Relay match, or even exceed, the 2007 total.
“The event’s goal this year is $75,000, which will benefit residents of Hudson County,” said Fine-Benedek.
Nationally, Relay for Life is expected to raise $410 million in 2009.
Students get active
This year the Secaucus Relay will be the culmination of more than a week’s worth of fundraising activities to benefit the ACS.
In particular, students at Secaucus High School have been asked to participate in various activities. Last week students were challenged to collectively raise $300 for Relay.
The freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior classes also held a “penny war,” in which each class competed to see who could collect the most loose change. The change will be donated to the ACS and the class that collected the most money will win a prize.
“I’ve been really impressed with the participation of the students this year.” – Debra Holloway
“I’ve been really impressed with the participation of the students this year,” said realtor Debra Holloway, a cancer survivor who is chairwoman of this year’s survivor dinner, a special event planned for May 8 for those who have battled the disease. “They’ve really gotten excited and involved this year in a way I don’t think they were before.”
Of course, students weren’t the only ones who have been active in pre-Relay fundraising.
“We get involved every year,” said volunteer firefighter Lawrence Sanzari, who helped organize the car wash at the fire house. “It’s such an important cause, we never say no…Members of the Fire Department will be out there [on May 8] selling hotdogs to help them raise more money.”
The department will donate food and labor and give the proceeds of the hotdog sales to the ACS.
Elsewhere around town, Relay teams held a garage sale of “lightly-used items” at Huber Street School and collected small donations at ShopRite locations in North Bergen and Lyndhurst.
Even a restaurant in Piscataway got into Secaucus’ act. On May 1, TGI Friday donated 20 percent of sales to Relay for Life of Secaucus when diners presented a flyer from local organizers.
Relay teams will arrive at Buchmuller Park at 4 p.m. next Friday, with entertainment and other activities beginning shortly thereafter. Various civic groups will also set up vending tables to help raise money for the cause. Raffles, face painting, and contests are among the events planned.
There will be a special dinner for cancer survivors at 5:30 followed by an opening ceremony at 7. The Relay will begin after the opening ceremony with cancer survivors and their caregivers taking the first two laps around the rink.
After that, at least one member from each team will be walking around the track until the Relay ends at 7 a.m. Saturday morning.
Walking will briefly stop at 9 p.m. Friday night for the luminaria ceremony, a candlelight celebration/remembrance of cancer survivors and those who have been lost to the disease.
“We walk all night to symbolize that cancer doesn’t sleep,” Pirro said noted before the 2008 Relay, “and if we’re serious about fighting it we can’t sleep either.”
For more information about Relay, visit www.relayforlife.org/SecaucusNJ.
E-mail E. Assata Wright at firstname.lastname@example.org.