FOX TWP. - A massive show of community support for the 2012 Elk County Relay for Life was on display at the Fox Township Community Park on Friday during the opening ceremony of the 24-hour event.
Emcee Roben Daghir said the goals were to increase awareness of cancer in the area and raise the funds needed to combat the disease, and termed the event was a "big success." Monetary donations for this year's event totaled roughly $13,450.
"Your contributions through the Relay for Life truly benefit the people of this community. At the Relay for Life, we celebrate loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer and we celebrate those who have won their battle with cancer and we fight back against a disease that touches so many of us," Daghir said.
The Rev. Mary Norton, who led those gathered in a prayer, said she is hopeful that "one day there will be no need for this because cancer has been cured."
Daghir said the event is ultimately about saving lives and added that advancements in cancer treatment and diagnosis have led to a greater number of survivors for a greater number of years.
"Please don't doubt that your involvement and contributions to tonight's events make a huge difference. Together we make a tremendous difference in the lives of others and the quality of life for cancer survivors," Daghir said.
Daghir, herself a cancer survivor, said the event is also an opportunity for the communities involved to honor loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer as well as those who have survived the disease.
Daghir said sharing her story of survival at a prior Relay for Life event was an "empowering" and "life-changing experience."
Daghir also thanked Susan Babik, the Elk County Relay for Life's American Cancer Society representative.