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Relay for Life a runaway success

Brooklyn Daily
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Photo gallery

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Survivor song: Joe Gillette and Paul Curiale sing for cancer surivors.
2/9
Strength: Survivor Samantha Joseph keeps hope alive as she undergoes her third year of chemotherapy.
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Remembrance: Stella Panzarino sets up a luminaria in memory of her mother Joyce.
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Tribute: Anthony Cusumano, a cancer survivor and principal of Roy H. Mann Junior High, walks the tribute walk.
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Life pie: Jared Wasserman, administrator at ShellBank Junior High, gets a pie in the face from his son Jake.
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Fighter: Relay for Life Co-Chair Joe Gillette stands among the luminarias in memory of those lost to cancer.
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In loving memory: Hundreds of luminaria tributes line the baseball field.
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Persevere: Brittany Butler walks with her friend Samantha Centeno in memory of Samantha’s dad.
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Light of hope: The Luminaria ceremony creates a glowing tribute to those lost to cancer.

The cancer warriors in Southern Brooklyn have done it again!

Fighters flocked to the fourth-annual Relay for Life in Bergen Beach on June 6 to walk, play and celebrate survivors, all in the name of beating cancer. And their tireless work paid off. The event’s organizer says donations were through the roof, totalling around $115,000 — and still climbing.

“It was a very successful day,” said Joe Gillette. “The numbers show that it went beyond our expectations. It’s a mind-boggling and wonderful feeling at the same time.”

The event, hosted by the Southern Brooklyn branch of the American Cancer Society, encouraged fighters of the illness to keep spirits high as they walked alongside survivors who are now cancer-free.

“It was really inspiring,” said Samantha Joseph, who battles colon cancer and cites the opening speech from survivor Anthony Cusumano as a highlight. “It gives you the hope to go on and hope that you can one day be cancer-free like they are.”

Fun activities filled the field to draw in a flood of generous donations — a pie-in-the-face booth earned more than $1,000 for the cause — while the luminaria ceremony provided moments of reflection and remembrance for those whom the disease had taken.

“It is a disease we really would like to find a cure for,” said cancer-fighter Elfreda Chaplin. “This is a chance to get together and talk about it and keep hope alive.”

Reach reporter Allegra Hobbs at ahobbs@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–8312.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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