'Cancer doesn't stop, and neither will we': Relay For Life goes virtual in DuPage, Northwest Cook counties

  • A favorite way to make a donation is to purchase a luminaria for $10. Luminaria bags honor every life touched by cancer. This year, the luminaria will be displayed in a slideshow for the Virtual Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties.

    A favorite way to make a donation is to purchase a luminaria for $10. Luminaria bags honor every life touched by cancer. This year, the luminaria will be displayed in a slideshow for the Virtual Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties. Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

 
 
Updated 6/4/2020 6:35 AM

Hearing the word cancer come out of the doctor's mouth is devastating. The world suddenly goes quiet and all you hear are the words echoing around in your head.

Feelings ricochet from fear to anger and finally to determination to fight no matter how hard the battle may seem. At times, people diagnosed may even feel alone, that no one understands their wide range of emotions.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

But the American Cancer Society wants to make sure no one ever feels alone. Your battle is its war.

The American Cancer Society, founded in 1913 by 10 doctors and five laypeople in New York City, invests hundreds of millions of dollars every year to fight cancer on a global scale.

A Relay For Life event is a way to inspire hope by raising funds and cancer awareness to help those facing the disease. It is a tribute to those who have been lost to cancer and a celebration for those who have survived it.

Participants get ready for a previous Relay For Life fundraiser. Normally, a Relay For Life lasts six hours, or even overnight, often at a high school track. This year's event will be a virtual relay taking place live online Friday, June 12.
Participants get ready for a previous Relay For Life fundraiser. Normally, a Relay For Life lasts six hours, or even overnight, often at a high school track. This year's event will be a virtual relay taking place live online Friday, June 12. - Courtesy of the American Cancer Society

To continue to support the mission of the American Cancer Society, a Virtual Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and Northwest Cook Counties will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 12, on the group's Facebook page.

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To watch, go to facebook.com/RelayForLifeNorthernDuPageNWCook/.

This Relay For Life includes the towns of Bartlett, Bloomingdale, Elk Grove Village, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Medinah, Itasca, Roselle, Schaumburg and Streamwood.

We talked to Carol Kurczak of Roselle, a cancer survivor herself, about the organization and the upcoming event.

Q: What is the American Cancer Society? Give a brief overview of what the organization does and whom you serve.

A: The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based, voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. We have regional and local offices throughout the country to ensure we have a presence in every community.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

While most people know us for our research, we do so much more. We attack cancer from every angle. We promote healthy lifestyles to help you prevent cancer. We research cancer and its causes to find more answers and better treatments. We fight for lifesaving policy changes.

We provide everything from emotional support to the latest cancer information. And we do it all 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Betty Maslankowski, left, Pat Blatz, Pat Buesing, Carol Kurczak and Lucy Danner, all of Roselle, get ready to walk at a previous Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties at Lake Park High School in Roselle. This year's event will be virtual on Friday, June 12.
Betty Maslankowski, left, Pat Blatz, Pat Buesing, Carol Kurczak and Lucy Danner, all of Roselle, get ready to walk at a previous Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties at Lake Park High School in Roselle. This year's event will be virtual on Friday, June 12. - Courtesy of Carol Kurczak

Today, almost 1,700 people in the U.S. will die of cancer. That adds up to more than 600,000 Americans dying of cancer this year alone. That's why, with our 1.5 million volunteers, we are taking action.

We work with lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and rally communities worldwide to join our mission. From basic information about cancer and its causes to in-depth information on specific cancer types -- including risk factors, early detection, diagnosis and treatment options -- you'll find it at cancer.org.

We can even find you a free ride to treatment or a free place to stay when treatment is far from home.

Q: Where do the majority of your donations come from?

A: The society raises nearly all of its money through private, individual donations, which helps to ensure its independence.

We've invested more than $4.9 billion in cancer research since 1946, all to find more -- and better -- treatments, uncover factors that may cause cancer and improve cancer patients' quality of life.

Q: Tell us about the Virtual Relay For Life. How does it work?

A: Normally, a Relay For Life lasts six hours, or even overnight, often at a high school track. We will present a Virtual relay on our Facebook page live from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 12. Watch at the Relay For Life of Northern DuPage Facebook page.

We will show the traditional activities, including the opening ceremony, survivor lap, inspirational speakers featuring messages of hope and a survivor speech, entertainment, a luminaria ceremony and the closing ceremony.

Pat and Bob Buesing -- The Grill Master -- from Algonquin have been Relay For Life volunteers for 20 years. Pat works in the Survivor Tent serving free catered dinner to cancer survivors.
Pat and Bob Buesing -- The Grill Master -- from Algonquin have been Relay For Life volunteers for 20 years. Pat works in the Survivor Tent serving free catered dinner to cancer survivors. - Courtesy of Carol Kurczak

To make your donation, to dedicate a luminaria or to join our Relay, visit www.RelayForLife.org/NorthernDupageIL or download the American Cancer Society Fundraising App. Ask your family, friends, co-workers and neighbors to support the American Cancer Society.

A favorite way to make a donation is to purchase a luminaria for $10. While we won't be able to be together, we still want to honor and remember those who have been affected by cancer. Luminaria bags honor every life touched by cancer.

For just $10 each, you can dedicate a luminaria in memory of a loved one, in support of someone currently battling cancer or to honor anyone who has overcome cancer. It is our way of showing that there is a light even in darkness.

All luminaria bags will be labeled with your loved one's name. Our virtual luminaria ceremony will be at approximately 8:30 p.m. Friday, June 12.

You can decorate your own virtual bag and email it to RFLNDuPage@gmail.com by June 10, with the subject "Luminaria," to be in our slideshow. See our Forms & Documents section on the webpage for the virtual bag. Be sure to make your donation for each bag.

Deb DeChinisto, left, Marlene Servos, Nancy Ventrella, Carol Kurczak and Michelle Kurczak, all from Roselle, show off their butterfly wings at a previous Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties at Lake Park High School in Roselle.
Deb DeChinisto, left, Marlene Servos, Nancy Ventrella, Carol Kurczak and Michelle Kurczak, all from Roselle, show off their butterfly wings at a previous Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties at Lake Park High School in Roselle. - Courtesy of Carol Kurczak

Q: How can readers help if they can't participate in the event?

A: To contact the American Cancer Society, call (800) 227-2345 or go to cancer.org/.

For information or questions, to donate or to join our Relay, visit RelayForLife.org/NorthernDuPageIL or call (630) 733-9784.

Q: What else would you like readers to know?

A: COVID-19 has changed the way we Relay. But with everyone's support, we can make sure the fight to end cancer doesn't stop. We can't be face to face, but we can still fight cancer head-on. Cancer doesn't stop, and neither will we.

• • •

Virtual Relay For Life of Northern DuPage and NW Cook Counties

When: 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 12; virtual luminaria ceremony will be at approximately 8:30 p.m.

To watch: Go to facebook.com/RelayForLifeNorthernDuPageNWCook/

Sign up: To make a donation, dedicate a luminaria or to join the Relay, visit RelayForLife.org/NorthernDupageIL or download the American Cancer Society Fundraising App.

Luminaria: $10; decorate your own virtual bag and email it to RFLNDuPage@gmail.com by June 10, with the subject "Luminaria," to be in the slideshow. See the Forms & Documents section on the webpage for the virtual bag.

Details: RelayForLife.org/NorthernDupageIL or (630) 733-9784

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