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Weston relay is a success

Jenna DePasquale, Bari Blitzer, Lexi Hero, Caroline Cannon, Kate Brozek, Jane Percival, Jackie Unangstat the Weston Westport Relay for Life May 18.

Jenna DePasquale, Bari Blitzer, Lexi Hero, Caroline Cannon, Kate Brozek, Jane Percival, Jackie Unangstat the Weston Westport Relay for Life May 18. (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

relay-chairmen

Relay chairmen, from left, Justine Belport, Oliver Parker, and Olivia Wolak. (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

Officially, there were 773 participants on 66 teams, but in truth, there were more than 1,000 people walking the track and lighting the night at the Weston Westport Relay for Life last weekend.

“The public came out in full force to show their support. It was terrific, a really beautiful event,” said Lisa Wolak, principal at Weston High School, where the relay took place.

“The mood was very festive and positive,” Ms. Wolak said, although there were lots of tears, too, she acknowledged, especially after the keynote speaker addressed the crowd just before luminarias were lit for a silent lap.

relay-mallory-luminaryV

Mallory Chila (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

The speaker was Mallory Chila, a senior at Weston High School who has been successfully battling cancer for the past year.

“She is incredible, a really remarkable young lady, and such a good kid. She’s my hero,” Ms. Wolak said.

Through all of her cancer treatment, Mallory still kept up with her schoolwork, and she will graduate on time with her class on June 19.

In addition, she is starting a foundation to help children with cancer be able to buy the medications they need.

“She’s such an inspiration,” Ms. Wolak said.

At that is what Relay for Life is all about — inspiration. The Weston relay, in its third year, raised more than $125,000 for the American Cancer Society this year.

Lighting up the night with glow sticks at the Weston Westport Relay for Life on Saturday, May 18, were, from left, Grant Weiller, Daniel Solinsky, Eric Benninghoff, and Ben Muller. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Lighting up the night with glow sticks at the Weston Westport Relay for Life on Saturday, May 18, were, from left, Grant Weiller, Daniel Solinsky, Eric Benninghoff, and Ben Muller. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Of the 66 teams, 34 raised more than $1,000 — many significantly more. The highest earning team was Weston Racquet Cares from the Weston Racquet Club, which raised nearly $10,500, followed by the Weston High School soccer team, which raised more than $8,000.

The numbers are expected to climb even higher as donations are collected over the next several weeks.

The Weston relay was also chosen as a site where people could sign up to become a part of an historical study of those who do not have a history of cancer. More than 80 people signed up, giving blood and filling out some general information Saturday night.

relay-gayle&dave

Weston Selectman David Muller and Frirst Selectman Gayle Weinstein at Relay for Life 2013. (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

One of the participants was Weston First Selectman Gayle Weinstein.

The needle prick to give some blood turned some people off, Ms. Weinstein said, but she was impressed with how many people stepped up to be part of the study and how smoothly it ran.

“I figure, that one little needle prick is a lot less painful than the chemo cocktail or the port in the chest so many cancer victims have to endure,” Ms. Weinstein said. “If we can do something to prevent our children from having to go through this — and virtually everyone knows someone and is somehow affected by cancer — if we can do this one small thing, then it’s well worth a little needle prick.”

Realy for Life 2013 (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Realy for Life 2013 (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

 

Walt Durand sang at Relay for Life 2013 (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Walt Durand sang at Relay for Life 2013 (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

 

Hannah Gluck from team Tonight We Fight gets into the spirit of the Relay for Life water balloon toss last weekend at Weston High School. The event drew nearly 1,000 people and raised more than $125,000. (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

Hannah Gluck from team Tonight We Fight gets into the spirit of the Relay for Life water balloon toss last weekend at Weston High School. The event drew nearly 1,000 people and raised more than $125,000. (Vivian Simons/vivspics.com)

Realy for Life 2013

Realy for Life 2013 (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com
)
Emily Castro, Caroline Cannon, Michaela Dyson, Dana Mitchell at Relay for Life May 18. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Emily Castro, Caroline Cannon, Michaela Dyson, Dana Mitchell at Relay for Life May 18. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Many Weston volunteer firefighters walked in full gear. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

Many Weston volunteer firefighters walked in full gear. (Vivian Simons photos/vivspics.com)

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