When Rockland County Legislator John Murphy brought the American Cancer Society Relay for Life to Orangetown, Councilman Denis Troy was a natural recruit to help.
Aside from Troy's strong connections in town, including groups such as Pearl River Little League and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, Troy is cancer survivor himself.
"It is important to do the research so people don't have to go through it," said Troy. "I had prostate cancer twice and melanoma. It's not a big deal compared to those who died from it, but I am alive now because of research that was done long ago."
Troy got the Hibernians involved in the Orangetown Relay for Life, now in its third year, providing food and other assistance. He also served as a connection to the Pearl River Little League, including Joan Bourke, who took over as chair of the relay this year.
"John Murphy, Joan and myself, you don't stand by and let things happen," Troy said. "You try and make a difference. Anybody who participates, that's what they do. They make a difference.
"Having participated and seen the community out working together, it makes you proud to be part of the community."
Troy pointed to how widespread the impact of cancer is as another reason to participate.
"Cancer effects every family," Troy said. "It is not limited to certain ages. This community knows that. One of our biggest teams was for Carolyn Sullivan (Team Carolyn). She was eight when she passed. Cancer is just so ubiquitous. You want to feel you are making a positive effort to combat this serious disease."
For more information or to register for this year's relay, go to www.relayforlife.org/orangetownny.
In addition to teams raising money to walk in the event, individuals can purchase Luminaria for $10 each. The white bags each represent a person who has had a cancer, a survivor or one who passed away. They can be purchased the day of the event or through the Relay for Life website. The Luminaria are lined up around the track and lit as night falls.
Groups and businesses can also purchase decorative footprints for $1 each.
Tell Patch Why You Participate in the Orangetown Relay for Life
Patch is looking to tell stories of the participants in the Orangetown Relay for Life. We want to hear yours. To share the story of how cancer touched your life or why you are taking part in the Relay for Life, email Pearl River Patch editor Ryan Buncher at firstname.lastname@example.org. We want to share your words, with pictures whenever possible. These stories can provide hope and illustrate the importance of the fight against cancer.