Rockville Relay For Life Unites Community to Fight Back Against Cancer

By Helen Triolo, last updated 5/15/14 06:55am

Photo credit American Cancer Society  

This article was written by Vivienne Stearns-Elliott and is posted on behalf of the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society Needs You to Relay and Help Finish the Fight!

Like so many families in Montgomery County, Nancy Coulter’s family has battled cancer. Nancy’s stepfather Dave Reiser was diagnosed with kidney cancer in 2007 and successfully treated. The family breathed a sigh of relief. Just one year later, he was diagnosed with sarcoma, which hit his family hard. “I didn’t know what to do,” says Nancy. “I couldn’t take the chemotherapy for him.”

So Nancy looked into the American Cancer Society and learned about Relay For Life in Rockville – an overnight event that ‘Celebrates, Remembers and Fights Back’ against cancer while raising important funds for research to find new cures and free support services for cancer patients. “It sounded so much better than just writing a check. My mom got excited too,” she says.

Relay For Life is an overnight event that takes place in more than 5,000 communities across the U.S. with 4 million participants. “It’s a testimony to how many people want to fight back against cancer. Since cancer never sleeps, Relays last up to 24 hours and teams take turns walking around a track,” says Jennifer Vigario, specialist for the Rockville Relay For Life. “People set up campsites, and we have lots of activities to keep them entertained. Not everyone stays overnight – you can stay as long as you want.”

For the second year in a row, Nancy is the Rockville Relay For Life event chair. “My stepdad is still fighting cancer. Walking the Survivors Lap around the track gives him hope. Relay For Life helps my family get through the darkest moments,” says Nancy.

“The Survivor Lap is so powerful,” says Rhoda Cutlip, a breast cancer survivor and Rockville resident, who began doing Relay For Life when her sister-in-law was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Though she lost her battle with ovarian cancer after six years, “I’ve been Relaying and fighting for her and others since 1999,” says Rhoda.

Nancy, who works at the Rockville Target, recruited co-workers, friends and family for her team, called Reiser's Relayers, in support of her stepdad. Target is one of the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life national sponsors.

“A highlight of Relay is the Luminaria ceremony, just after dark, which is moving and inspiring,” says Jennifer. “Participants light Luminaria bags around a track and spell out the word HOPE to honor loved ones they’ve lost and those that are fighting.”

Rhoda adds, “Relay is a joyful atmosphere. For those who continue to come to Relay, it’s like a family reunion every year.”

Funds raised from Relay provide free American Cancer Society services such as Reach to Recovery, Road to Recovery and Look Good, Feel Better and support the Society’s 24/7 cancer resource hotline. The Society is the largest funder of cancer research outside the Federal Government and has provided grants to 47 Nobel Prize winners.
Join Relay For Life and help make this cancer’s last century!

Rockville Relay For Life, Saturday, May 31, 2:00 p.m- 5:30am, Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus.

See or contact or call 301-562-3648.

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