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Yorktown Relay for Life Raises More Than 200K

It was a night of celebration, hope and remembrance as Yorktown residents illuminated the Jack DeVito Memorial Field for their sixth annual Relay for Life on Friday.

All present at Relay for Life had a lot to celebrate, as they raised over $1 million through their past six years of fundraising, and were planning to make this another banner year.

Speaking to the large crowd, organizer Jane Buckley McCarthy said $200,000 had been raised so far, and that number could reach $300,000 once the weekend's proceeds are tallied. Money raised by Relay for Life goes to the American Cancer Society.

Maggie Barbieri, a two-time melanoma survivor, thanked the crowd who rallied together at the event. She credited Relay For Life for helping to save her life, “When I see all of you gathered here to find a cure, its just overwhelming."

After she walked off the stage and was hugged by a myriad of people wearing purple and white Relay for Life t-shirts, she said being at the relay helped her realize she’s never alone when it comes to this fight. “When you’re feeling bad or just like you’re alone, you see all of these people who are just here whether they know someone who has cancer or they’ve had it, and they come together to help you, you just can’t help but know you’re not alone in all of this," said Barbieri.

The crowd was a mix of volunteers, survivors and caregivers of all ages. Brothers Matthew and Christian Sanchez attended the event in honor of their grandmother who recently passed away from cancer. Twelve Yorktown High School students formed a team “The Good Guys“ and sold food and specially designed tattoos to honor and remember all of their friends and friends’ parents who have suffered from cancer.

“We’ve all had people affected by it in some way or another, we all know someone who’s had to deal with it, so this year we decided we were going to do something about it and make our own team,” said Amanda Daru, a junior at Yorktown High school.

John Jay students Sarah Dieck and Ally Moreo were just one of many students who walked on the track filled with Yorktown residents with signs reading “Free Hugs.”

Tents had games, raffles, food and drinks, and Kathy Farese who co-owns Larese Salon and Spa with her sister were seen under their tent putting purple hair extensions on people’s heads for a donation.

“We’ve seen so many of our clients go through this and since we work with mostly women we try to help in any way we can,” Farese said. The salon also hosts once a month makeovers for cancer patients she said.

The event was a way to thank, to celebrate, and to remember loved ones who have succumbed to cancer. Luminarias, white bags decorated with names of loved ones, wrapped around the entire track where a member from each team walked.

Jesse Hoffman, the captain of Rally for Sally, said he joined Relay last year in honor of his mother, Sally Hoffman, who died from cancer after an 18-month fight with pancreatic cancer.

“It was all I could think of to show my mother that I would make a difference and do something she would be proud of,” he said.

When asked what his mother was like, he couldn’t help but smile.

“She was a fighter, she was just such a fighter,” he said. “She was that type of person who was just so overly helpful. She was one of those people who if you had a party, she would get to your house early to help you set up. She would help you clean up, and then after your party and after she cleaned up, she would stay to paint your house. She was that type of person—she was just so over the top friendly. My mom was a great person.”

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