Relay for Life: Community comes together to fight cancer

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart Helen Matsis and Geralyn Plomitallo loop the track at Nashua High School North during the Relay For Life of Greater Nashua Saturday afternoon.

NASHUA – Hundreds came together for the same cause on Saturday, fighting to raise funds for cancer treatment, research and diagnostics at the Relay For Life of Greater Nashua.

“Relay For Life is an event that’s part of the American Cancer Society, and what we do is we fundraise, but we also educate, assist members in the community who are going through cancer, cancer treatments, up to and including driving them to and from their treatments,” said Tracy McGraw, volunteer lead.

She said they also help with other kinds of things, such as wigs and some of the more simpler things people don’t typically even think about.

“The primary amount of our money, the fundraising, goes toward treatment, research and diagnostics in the hopes that a year from now things will be even better than they are now, as far as cancer research and cancer treatments,” McGraw said.

She said more 100 people registered as teams for the relay, with some teams consisting of family and friends and others of sponsors. The idea is to have at least one person from each team walking at all times during the 12 hours the event ran. From 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. walkers lapped the track at Nashua High School North with a sense of fellowship and unity in the fight against cancer.

Staff photo by Adam Urquhart The ‘A Wee Bit of Hope’ team went all out with their costumes at the Relay For Life of Greater Nashua at Nashua High School North Saturday. Beth Haynes, Scarecrow; Roger Haynes, Tin Man; Allison Scherer, Lion; ‘husband of Glinda,’ Dorothy; Mae Hoke, Glinda; Cathi Webster, Wicked Witch; Dr. Alex Hopke, flying monkey; and Jayne Girouard, Wizard of Oz all stand together for a team picture.

“The purpose is really to sit and think about what you’ve been through, what your family has been through, the long road of recovery and the fact that, eventually, you are going to get better, and that we are all here in this together,” McGraw said. “Nobody is alone.”

When she last checked early Saturday morning, $49,000 had been raised, not factoring in sponsorship money. She said at 9 p.m., the lights went down and a bagpiper from the New Hampshire Police Association Pipes and Drums played as part of their Luminaria event.

In reference to that, McGraw said, “We’re just all here together. We’re all here to fight for the same reason so nobody has to hear those words again.”

Adam Urquhart can be reached at 594-1206 or aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.