Lakewood OH

Relay For Life celebrates cancer survivors and their caregivers

Westlake auxiliary police officer Rick Grane, chairing his last Relay For Life, and Hamburglar, from the McDonald’s near Detroit and Columbia roads, lead a lap at Saturday’s American Cancer Society fundraiser.

Members of Company D, Westlake High School’s show choir, entertain at the Westshore Relay For Life. (West Life photos by Kevin Kelley)

By Kevin Kelley

For Janet McMaster, the activities of the American Cancer Society represent more than just the idyllic hope of a cure for cancer.

Speaking during the opening ceremonies of the Westshore Relay For Life Saturday, McMaster noted that the ACS offers patients rides to doctors appointments, new cancer treatments and advice on how to prevent cancer. The organization was instrumental in the legal fight to make restaurants free from smoking, she said.

“Cancer survivors are living proof that we are making a difference in the fight against the disease,” McMaster said at the ACS fundraiser, held in the auxiliary gymnasium of Westlake High School. “They have endured days of illness, medical appointments and tears. Yet they are here with us today as we honor their crusade against this disease.”

Started in 1985 by a Tacoma, Wash., physician, Relay For Life centers around teams of people who take turns walking or running around a track to raise money from sponsors for cancer research. Teams also raise money by selling refreshments during the event.

This year, McMaster joined the FROG team, with FROG standing for “Fully Rely on God.” In addition to walking the track, members sold handmade pillows, trinket boxes, brownies and other snacks during Saturday’s event.

The FROG team was created four years ago for the Lakewood Relay For Life by Mirian Roman, who was diagnosed with stage III Hodgskin’s lymphoma in 1983. She is now cancer-free following treatment.

“Part of my story is that I truly believe God healed me of my cancer,” Roman told West Life. “Thirty-three years free and clear is a miracle.”

The FROG team handed out business cards with information about a prayer chain Roman created, as well as its email address – Roman said she wants to offer other cancer patients the same hope of a cure she experienced.

Suzan Piskur of the American Cancer Society said the purpose of Relay For Life, beyond the fundraising, is to celebrate cancer survivors and their caregivers. Both groups were saluted with applause during the first lap of the event.

Piskur told West Life 2017 is the last time a Relay for Life event will be held in Westlake, at least for the foreseeable future. The ACS has not yet decided on a location for its 2018 fundraiser, she said.

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