For the 19th year, the Relay for Life of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights will bring the community together to support cancer patients and caregivers, recognize survivors and remember those who succumbed to the disease on Saturday, June 17, at Poly Prep.
Organized with the help of the American Cancer Society, the annual event will kick off at the school, 9216 Seventh Avenue, at 10 a.m., with the opening ceremony honoring Police Officer Anthony Passaro and John Quaglione, an aide to State Senator Marty Golden and a candidate for City Council, at 1 p.m.
Then, at 3 p.m., the Survivor and Caregiver Ceremony honoring the Greco family and Paul Murphy will take place, with the Luminaria Ceremony, in memory of P.S. 264 teacher Merideth Wos, occurring at 9 p.m. Wos lost her battle with leukemia in November, 2016, just months after she was diagnosed with the disease.
This year, participants have so far raised a little over 44 percent of their donation goal: $100,491 of $225,000. With a little over a week left to go, top fundraisers include the Admirals of P.S. 160 in Sunset Park, who have raised over $18,000. The funds raised through the event go to research and providing cancer patients with free lodging while they undergo treatment, among other services,
“We consider ourselves a service school,” said Principal Margaret Russo, “and it’s part of our mission to give back to our community.” The commitment to this particular cause is something Russo said comes from staff members who have been impacted by cancer, crediting the school’s success to efforts by Margie Freire, George Lauro and Debra Fox.
Among many schools to take part, P.S. 160 starts raising money for Relay for Life in January with raffles and bake sales. Staff and administrators also have the chance to bartend at the Pour House twice a year in the spring, with all profits from their efforts going toward finding a cure.
When it comes to the school’s students, Russo said. “I think it makes it real for them, and we can talk about it. It empowers them, and they see that even if they don’t have a lot of money, every penny counts.”