Relay for Life Organizers Hold a Planning Session

In the ballroom of the Orient Heights Yacht Club a group of residents from Chelsea, East Boston and surrounding communities came together last week to begin planning for the neighborhood’s third annual Relay for Life–one of the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) signature fundraising events.

Some in the room last Thursday night were cancer survivors, others volunteers but all had one common thread tying them together.

“It’s so great that so many people will come forward and work towards the same cause of finding a cure for cancer,” said ACS Community Executive Matthew Blom at last weeks meeting. “I don’t think we’ll have any problem getting people from involved.”

Relay For Life is a overnight event that will mobilize Chelsea and surrounding communities to celebrate survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer), remember loved ones, and raise money for the fight against cancer.

“Relay For Life is an awareness raiser about the progress against cancer as much as it is a fundraiser,” said Blom. “Individuals who are willing to give their time and energy to this exciting event as a volunteer or participant have made a commitment to fight back against this disease that has touched too many lives.”

The meeting last week was the first in a series aimed at energizing the Relay for Life committee that will begin initial preparations for the event that will be held at East Boston Stadium on Friday, June 17 through Saturday, June 18.

The group of residents and volunteers that met last week are looking for more people to come forward and lend a hand in pulling off a successful fundraising event.

“We are hoping to draw people from East Boston and the surrounding areas,” said Blom. “If we get a tight knit group it can make for a really unique event.”

Teams of eight to 15 members will gather with tents and sleeping bags over the two days at the Stadium and join with more nearly 5,000 communities nationwide that sponsor Relays for Life. Members of each team will take turns circling the track at the Stadium over a 12 to 24 hour period.

“Relay For Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, religious groups…people from all walks of life,” explained Blom. “Teams seek sponsorship prior to the Relay, all with the goal of raising money to help eliminate cancer.”

If you would like to start a team or find out about future meetings, visit

Last year’s Relay for Life was one of the best fundraising events the area had ever seen and raised over $60,000 for ACS. On one hand it was solemn and filled with emotion as residents and supporters remembered family and friends who succumb to cancer. But on the other it was an event that inspired and was filled with hope and triumph as cancers survivors walked for a cure.

This year, walkers are encouraged to set a personal goal of $100 dollars or more.

“The ACS and local relay committee have dozens of ideas for quick and simple ways to meet your personal goal,” said the Relay’s spokesperson Celeste Myers. “There’s still plenty of time to get involved. The 2010 event was hugely successful with over 30 teams participating in the night-long walk.”

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