Relay to Fight Cancer

Relay For Life at Fort Totten

Relay For Life at Fort Totten

Queens Courier

BY VICTOR G. MIMONI

Thursday, February 19, 2009 6:08 PM EST
There’s a party on Bell Boulevard in Bayside, but it’s serious.

It’s a complimentary informational kick-off party, at the Outback Steakhouse, to spread the word for the American Cancer Society (ACS) 5th annual “Relay For Life,” scheduled for this June, at Fort Totten.

The Kick-Off Party will be held on Tuesday, February 24, from 8 to 10 p.m. at the steakhouse located at 23-48 Bell Boulevard, said event chair Stephanie Perger.

The overnight campaign will take place on Saturday, June 6 through Sunday, June 7, on the parade grounds of the historic fort, much of which is now a park and Fire Department facilities.

“We invite you to make a difference and help us provide hope to patients, families and friends coping with cancer,” Perger.

The event committee has been holding monthly meetings at the Chabad Jewish Community Center at 26-06 213th Street in Bayside. Their next meeting is scheduled on Thursday, March 5.

“All are welcome – bring a friend,” Perger said, adding two requests: “Please enter through the back door and please, no food or drinks.” She pointed out that at the party however, “Food and refreshments will be served.”

According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), the disease affects more than 8.9 million people nationwide – more than 1.2 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer and a projected 555,500 will die from it this year, they say.

“Relay for Life brings the community together to remember those who have lost their battle with cancer, honor those who have won their battle and encourage those still in the battle,” Perger explained.

The idea was conceived in 1985 by Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma, Washington surgeon who wanted to boost his local ACS office.

He spent a grueling 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him.

He raised $27,000.

While he was circling the track, Klatt envisioned the team-relay event – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Millions have joined the cause all over the world, making Relay For Life the largest fundraising event ever, according to the ACS.

Perger pointed out that party seating is limited, and asks those planning to attend to R.S.V.P. by noon on Monday, February 23. Call John Link at the American Cancer Society, 718-263-2225, Ext. 5538 or via e-mail at john.link@cancer.org.

“If you can’t attend the party but would like additional information, please let us know,” she said.

For more information, you can also visit www.relayforlife.org/forttottenNY.

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