It was not difficult to determine the most popular clothing color at West Point Park in Willoughby during a seven-hour period on September 17.
Lots of people wore purple T-shirts, and for good reason. After all, many of these people had gathered in the park to take part in the 2022 Lake County Relay for Life.
“Purple is the color of the Relay,” said Gail Norris, marketing manager for the Relay for Life of Lake County. “It’s our power to fight cancer.”
Founded in 1985 by the American Cancer Society, Relay For Life is a global event dedicated to saving lives from cancer. Money raised each year through local Relay For Life programs directly supports activities such as cancer research, support for cancer patients and access to lifesaving screenings, the society listed on its website.
The 2022 Lake County Relay For Life, held at West Point Park from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., featured 23 registered teams whose members raised funds for research, support and services in the fight against cancer.
Heather Vater was part of a 14-member team representing Swift Recchiaa chartered accountant firm based in Willoughby.
“I’m here because my grandmother passed away from cancer and our firm is participating because we have a few members who are battling cancer,” said Vater, who works as an administrative assistant at Martinet Recchia.
Vater said that all members of the Relay for Life Martinet Recchia 2022 team raised funds individually and the company itself made a financial donation.
“We actually did pretty well our first year,” said Vater, who resides in Mentor.
Vater described the 2022 Lake County Relay For Life as a wonderful event.
“It’s a very personal cause for me and for a lot of our team members who have lost people to cancer,” she said. “So to see an event with so much energy and so much excitement, it’s really great.”
In keeping with Relay For Life tradition, teams are encouraged to have their members take turns walking around a track or trail for the duration of the event, to honor survivors. of cancer and caregivers and to remember those who have died of the disease.
Although West Point Park does not have an official walking track, team participants used sidewalks on the exterior portion of the property to act as a continuous path for performing laps.
This year, Lake County Relay For Life also brought together people who have survived cancer or provided care for those affected by the disease. Some of those people in the September 17 program wore scarves identifying them as a “survivor” or a “caregiver.”
Karen Anderson of Willoughby Hills is a breast cancer survivor who received her last treatment for the disease four years ago. She said Lake County Relay For Life provides a supportive atmosphere for people whose lives have been touched by cancer.
“There’s just an incredible camaraderie and great support that people have for each other,” Anderson said.
In addition to being an event where people can find comfort and encouragement to cope with the emotional impact of cancer, the Lake County Relay For Life also provided opportunities for fun.
Attendees and guests were able to enjoy DJ music, games, face painting and cooking from two food trucks. Competitions were also organized for the 23 Relay for Life teams.
Everyone also had the chance to bet on raffle baskets, including items such as tickets to a Cleveland Guardians baseball game, a membership in the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo; or a collection of Euclid Beach Park memories.
This year’s Lake County Relay For Life ended with the lighting of luminaries lined up in bags around West Point Park. People could purchase these luminaries and inscribe the bags with names to honor, remember or support those affected by cancer.
Norris said she and other volunteers who help organize and carry out the Lake County Relay For Life really appreciate this annual project.
“Everything we do, we do because we love it,” she said.