2007-02-16 / Community

Rockaway Relay For Life Kicks Off '07 Campaign

By Miriam Rosenberg Contributing Editor

Those attending the kickoff watch a video about the relay. Those attending the kickoff watch a video about the relay. It may have been cold outside, but hearts were warm inside as the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life of the Rockaways started its 2007 campaign at a kickoff party on the evening of February 7. Last year the relay raised over $80,000 at the overnight event held each June, and John Link of the ACS would like to replicate that amount this year.

"I think we certainly will be able to reach that goal," said Link, to the small, but dedicated group who attended the party at the Knights of Columbus hall.

While a January report showed that deaths from cancer fell for the second year in a row, Link said, "there is still a lot of work to do. There are 1,500 deaths a day from cancer."

Julia Minott recalled the day, in November 2005, she learned she had breast cancer.

"I was devastated," she said. "I didn't know where to turn."

After meeting Jacqueline McMikle, of the Arverne Cancer Support Group, she got a second opinion, surgery and radiation."

"We have to stick together and be here for each other," Minott said.

Jay Simon, who was going in for lung cancer surgery the next day, tells why it was important for him to be at the party. Sharing a laugh with Simon are the ACS's Link and chairperson Jeannine Stathis. Jay Simon, who was going in for lung cancer surgery the next day, tells why it was important for him to be at the party. Sharing a laugh with Simon are the ACS's Link and chairperson Jeannine Stathis. Jay Simon, who had lung cancer surgery scheduled for the day after the kickoff party, has been through cancer four times - lung, kidney, bladder and back to lung cancer. "You have always been there when I started," said Simon. "It is just as important for me to be here tonight. I wish more people were here. Hopefully tomorrow will be it [with cancer for me]."

Link talked about the cold winds of someone discovering they have cancer.

"It is our opportunity to warm up that place with research, better treatment and providing support going through cancer, such as the Arverne Cancer Support group. You are leading the way for us to a day when we have said we won," Link told everyone.

The eighth annual event to raise money for cancer research and programs will be held on June 9 and 10 at Beach Channel High School.

The first meeting for this year's relay will be held on February 28 at the First Congregational Church on Beach 94 Street. For more information, the website for the Rockaway Relay is http://www.acsevents.org/relay/ny/ rockaway. In addition, Link can be contacted at John.Link@cancer.org.

Julia Minott, a breast cancer survivor, talks about her experience of finding out she had cancer. Julia Minott, a breast cancer survivor, talks about her experience of finding out she had cancer. John Link, of the American Cancer Society, would like to see this year's relay raise $80,000 for research and programs. John Link, of the American Cancer Society, would like to see this year's relay raise $80,000 for research and programs.

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