Orangetown Relay for Life Chairperson Joan Bourke read a slightly altered version of lyrics from Melissa Etheridge's song, I Walk for Life, which the singer wrote about her battle with breast cancer.
"I walk for hope
I walk to feel
I walk for the truth
For all that's real
I walk for your mother, your sister, your brother, your wife
I walk for you and me, my friends. I walk for life"
Hundreds of people did the same Friday night in the Orangetown Relay for Life on the Central Avenue Field in Pearl River. The Relay for Life is a fundraiser for the _American Cancer Society_ and an event meant to raise awareness and to honor those whose lives have been touched by cancer.
There were 298 people pre-registered as part of 19 teams, but the event drew a significant walk-up with the aid of comfortable weather.
"We have a great night to come together as a community and do our part to raise awareness and some money for the American Cancer Society," Bourke said. "I ask you to look around and recognize those people that are here. These are the people who volunteer their time every time there is a need. They make Orangetown a great place to live. I am very proud to be a part of this event."
Bourke took over the event this year from Rockland County Legislator John Murphy, who co-chaired the Orangetown Relay for Life in its first two years.
"She's a remarkable citizen and a remarkable human being," Murphy said. "I want you all to thank her."
Murphy introduced the Brest Buddies, a group of women from Rockland County who raise money to combat breast cancer. One of their members, Ann Marie McGrory, recently lost her husband to lung cancer.
"I want to thank Pearl River and the community for the amazing support, love and dinners. Everything they've done," McGrory said. "Just coming out here tonight is another example of the compassion and caring and how much we've done in the community for cancer.
"My husband did die last month of long cancer. We've all been affected. Friends died. Friends survived. We've all been touched by cancer. Your support today means so much to everyone to help cure cancer, all types of cancer, and to help the American Cancer Society support other families."
The Orangetown Relay for Life will continue until 7 a.m. Saturday morning.