According to the American Cancer Society, one out of three people in the United States will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
More than 53,000 new cases of cancer were diagnosed in New Jersey last year alone, and in Burlington County, each year there are an estimated 2,800 cases diagnosed.
With those facts and figures in mind, hundreds took to the field at Cherokee High School on June 1 for this year’s annual Relay for Life of Marlton.
The Relay for Life of Marlton was one of hundreds of other Relay events set to take place around the world this year, all of which serve as the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.
Relay for Life events raise funds for cancer research by bringing together cancer patients, survivors, caretakers, supporters, doctors, nurses, family members, friends and other members of the community.
Teams that join Relay for Life events will usually meet at a track or park so that at least one member of those teams can be walking at all times – similar to a relay race – to symbolize how cancer “never sleeps” and requires a team of people to defeat the disease.
In addition to honoring survivors of cancer and remembering those who lost their fights to the disease, Relay for Life events also allow participants to come together for a day of fun, with teams provided with games, prizes, food and other miniature fundraising sales throughout the day.
As of the morning of the Relay for Life of Marlton, this year’s event attracted what officials described as an “impressive” 764 participants.
At the time of that count, officials said the event had also raised about $150,000, with more collected throughout the day.
Also similar to past years, this year’s Relay for Life of Marlton served as hub for neighboring Mt. Laurel, Medford and Voorhees townships, all of which have consolidated their events into Marlton’s Relay in recent years.
Just one of the speakers at this year’s event was Dr. Elizabeth Revesz – a breast cancer surgeon with Virtua Health System – who was named as the “Healthcare Champion” for this year’s event.
Having been asked to speak at and take part in similar events in the past, Revesz said she was “overwhelmed” by the outpouring of friendship, love and compassion she saw among the participants at this year’s Marlton Relay for Life.
“Here we are today to celebrate you, the survivors, and you, the caregivers, and to acknowledge the courage, perseverance, and stoicism you demonstrated and continue to demonstrate in the face of cancer,” Revesz said.
Also speaking at this year’s event was Mayor Jaclyn Veasy, who has also served on the planning committee for the Marlton Relay for Life since its inception.
Veasy welcomed the crowd to Marlton’s 11th event – which was also her first while serving as mayor – and she thanked the survivors and other participants for joining together.
“We’ve grown so much throughout the last 11 years, and it just makes me so proud to be a part of this awesome committee and part of this community … and to have all of our surrounding towns here in Marlton with us celebrating makes it so important,” Veasy said.
To still donate to the funds raised by the 2019 Marlton Relay for Life, visit the event’s page through the American Cancer Society’s website.