Haverford’s Relay For Life Remembers Those Who Battle Cancer
For many, being involved with cancer—either having the disease or knowing family or friends who has it—is like being in a club that no one wants to be a member of.
“We are all part of a club that we don’t want to be a part of,” said Judy Gallagher, sponsorship and publicity chair of the Haverford Relay For Life, said as she choked back tears at the organization’s fourth annual event on Saturday, June 2, held at the Haverford Reserve.
According to the group’s website, the event raised $40,988, but Gallagher, who is also a Patch correspondent, said that the Relay For Life will still be accepting donations until Friday, Aug. 31.
An estimated 400 people arrived on the bright, spring day. While music was playing and vendors were there, many participants—from cancer survivors to caregivers to family and friends who have lost loved ones from the disease—walked around the field during the 24-hour event.
State Rep. Greg Vitali (D-166), who took part in the walk, said that he has lost his brother and mother to cancer and said that nowadays nearly everyone knows of a person who has it.
“I would be hard press to find families who have not been touched by cancer,” he explained to the Haverford-Havertown Patch of the disease’s widespread reach. “That is why cancer research is just so important.”
It was, without a doubt, a very emotional day for many. District Judge Robert Burke choked back tears when he said during a speech that, “I’m a cancer survivor.”
He said that in 2006 life was good to him until he went in for his annual blood test and physical, which he said “saved my life.”
While he had no symptoms, the tests revealed something abnormal and further tests showed that he had prostate cancer, he said. While he had it removed, he said that to this day he could not help but think about his mother, father and brother who had died from cancer.
“It’s important to be aware and educate ourselves about cancer and how we live our lives,” Burke said, who is now cancer free.
But for Danny Murphy, he did not give a speech but beautifully sang Martina McBride’s “I’m Gonna Love You Through It,” a song about a mother who discovered that she has cancer.
After he finished singing, he told that he lost his father in 2010 to lung cancer.
“I hope the survivors know there will be people there for them,” the 13-year-old Haverford Middle School student said as to what he hopes people will take away from the song.