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Letter to Editor: Thank you for RELAY FOR LIFE fundraising support!

Medfield Resident (and Patch contributor) Colleen Sullivan reflects on her 10th American Cancer Society Relay For Life.

Dear Editor,

Having recently completed my 10th Relay For Life event, I am pleased and honored to thank my many Medfield friends, family members and everyone who once again supported my fundraising efforts for the American Cancer Society.  I am also very proud to be one of the top three individual fundraisers at this year’s 2012 event; an event that I am passionate about and dedicated to.

In 2003, the first year the American Cancer Society brought this event to Medfield, I was intrigued as I had never heard of the Relay For Life so I went to an informational meeting.  Today, as I write this letter of thanks after my 10th RELAY event, it is obvious that I not only joined up, I jumped in with both feet!

The first year was an amazing event at Medfield High School and the town turned out in the hundreds to support it.  There were more RELAY teams than anyone expected; everyone was energized and enthusiastic.  Many supportive Medfield businesses and individuals offered services for the event and underwrote costs.  That year will always be a “standout” year in my mind.  Under the leadership of former Wheelock teacher, Jan Interrante, and Medfield Properties broker, Brenda Croke, everyone on the planning committee and all the team captains were inspired to do their best and the total fundraising well exceeded what the ACS had hoped for.

That year, along with my good friend Karen Naughton, we started our own team and were the team co-captains.  Our team consisted of 15 friends and co-workers and we named our team the SuperTroopers in honor of Karen’s son who was fighting his battle with cancer and was a New Hampshire State Trooper.  One of our team members, who took on the team captain role a few years later, was Liz Busconi, a beloved Wheelock teacher who lost her own battle with lung cancer in 2007.

Since that first year, RELAY has changed.  Having made a promise to myself that I would stay involved with this event and fight this battle by raising funds, my involvement grew and evolved over the next few years. 

My friend, Bonnie Tragakis and I took on the role of event co-chairs (2006–2009) during this decade and opened our event up to Norfolk residents.  The next drastic change was when we merged our event with neighboring towns, Medway and Millis in 2010 because of a huge drop-off in Medfield involvement and participation.  This year, for example, my team, the SuperTroopers, was a team of one!

Each and every person who participates in the RELAY has their own reason to RELAY; mine was very personal.  My Mom died from kidney cancer, my Dad died from liver cancer, and my father-in-law died from complications of melanoma.

With all the changes over the years to the RELAY event, especially the merging of the Medfield event with neighboring towns and with Medfield’s minimal involvement, I decided that this past RELAY would possibly be my last.  It seemed like five minutes after I made this decision to “move on” from RELAY that an incredible number of close friends and family members were suddenly battling cancer. 

Some of these people had beaten it for years, and were diagnosed for a second time, while others were totally surprised with a cancer diagnosis…breast cancer, lung cancer, lymphoma and colon cancer…each one of these individuals were diagnosed within the last few months!

There are also many wonderful stories of people who battled cancer and won and, when I see these friends, it gives me hope!  I believe that the programs and research that the American Cancer Society provides has much to do with those success stories and that makes me proud to be part of the Relay For Life, and that is why I want to thank you all for your continued support. 

The American Cancer Society states, “It's amazing to think that millions of people will be diagnosed with cancer this year. Somebody close to us may be one of them.” 

This is why I RELAY...

With sincere thanks,

Colleen Sullivan, RELAY FOR LIFE SuperTroopers

Donations are still being accepted through August 31.  For more information log onto www.relayforlife.org/3mnma  or contact me.

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