Written by Lydia Robledo Friday, 21 June 2013 00:00
Carle Place students and local residents raised $40,300 in the fight against cancer at their recent Relay for Life event. Led by chairperson Hope Alfieri, the event, which was held at Carle Place High School, began with an early reception lunch where cancer survivors were honored and recognized.
“We start off our event by honoring survivors,” said community staff partner Brittany Lawton. “They kick off our entire event so we’re celebrating life.” Lawton got involved in the event three years ago after she lost her own father to cancer. His death inspired her to work her way up in the organization and become Relay for Life staff. “I think this is an amazing event that empowers people to take up the fight against cancer,” she said. “So it’s not just this intangible thing that destroys families and tears everybody apart.”
Lawton describes Carle Place as “a small town with a big heart.” “That’s actually the theme of their relay today and I think that describes this community perfectly,” she said. “Because the whole community basically shuts down and comes here and all the local businesses come out and support us.”
The event committee specifically sought to get children involved this year by holding a family day carnival featuring a bounce slide and house, face painting, a balloonist, a dunk tank, music by live bands, and plenty of yummy treats and fun activities.
Teams had on-site fundraising selling baked goods, jewelry, manicures and handmade items, and all of the proceeds were donated to the American Cancer Society (ACS). Vendors such as Starbucks and Smoothie King were present and also donated a portion of sales to the ACS.
The Archangels team alone has raised nearly $5,000 to date.
“Our Girl Scout team put together a lot of handmade items such as angel pins, angel bookmarks, garden stones, and flowers. The Cub Scouts had a car wash and we made a bunch of tasty treats for everybody,” said Catherine Masiello, founder of the Archangels team.
“It’s a good way to bring the whole community out and get them together.”
Carrie Deleo of the Pink Ladies and the T-Birds team walked in memory of her friend Cindy Valentis, who died this past year. “We get the kids involved by selling cupcakes, candy, pink lemonade, all that kind of stuff,” she said. “We can’t think of a better reason to come out in this small town.”
Carle Place National Junior Honors Society, a team of 80 kids, has raised over $4,000 with events like “Minute to Win It” this past May.
“We’re all trying to find a cure for cancer because cancer has touched us all,” said Thomas Dutto, president of the National Junior Honor Society. “It’s just a nice way for a bunch of kids to try to change society and make it a better place for tomorrow.”
Joining in the efforts were Chairperson Alfieri and Nancy Amalfitano who, as the “Purple Potty Plumbers,” dragged a purple potty around the track to signify flushing out cancer. “Every night we were out moving this for about a month and we raised over $2,000,” Alfieri said. “It was very worthwhile.”
During the final ceremony, Remember Luminaria, attendees lit small candles inside paper bags which contained messages of hope to loved ones and reflected silently during a special last lap.
Alfieri said her inspiration behind the event was to continue the fight to rid our nation of cancer. “I’m walking for many people but mostly for our friend Ina Simon. She passed away and lost her fight two years ago from a leiomyosarcoma,” Alfieri said. “We walk for her, I walk for my uncle, I walk for survivors that I know, and all the people that are here. We walk to find a cure.”