The elderly and the young, patients and survivors, families and friends - hundreds of Stoneham residents came together for Stoneham's Relay for Life at June 23.
The ongoing relay, at first stifled by the unexpected torrents on rain, was forced into the gym for the beginning of its 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. marathon, but later made its way to the football field as relayers walked throughout the night to raise money for various cancer groups.
The overall goal of the night was to raise $50,000. Fortunately, according to the event coordinator Maureen McGinness, Stoneham's relay crushed that number, raising more than $100,000. According to the event website, there were 401 participants and 37 teams that raise more than $102,000.
The top fundraising teams were:
1. Julie's Angels: $12,202
2. Moving for Miracles: $8,578
3. Central Connection: $7,970
Meanwhile, the top individual fundraisers were:
1. Michael Stearns: $3,835
2. Elizabeth Williams: $3,675
3. Todd Davis: $3,145
Kathy O'Connell, who participated in the relay to support relatives, summed up many of the sentiments expressed by the those who entered the relay, saying: "I came down to support the cause. My sister and sister-in-law are breast cancer survivors, and everybody knows somebody who has been touched by cancer, so we are down here to help."
Adding to O'Connell's general ideas on the communal aspect that the relay brings out in friends and families of cancer survivors and patients, John Bauer, father of cancer patient Julianna, and wife and surivor Maria, said: "It's a great cause, just wonderful. [Relay for Life] helps bring awareness and brings families together."
And it wasn't simply adults who expressed this feeling of community surrounding fighting cancer and the relay. Abi Hertz of the Stoneham Drama Club's team said, "My grandfather survived cancer, so I wanted to give back."
Give back everyone did, by looping first the Stoneham High gym, then field, for 12 hours, going strong throughout the night. Here's a look at the different themes during the event. Participants wore different outfits, ranging from pajamas to Halloween-themed getups, throughout the event.
To help keep spirits high there was music, food, some impromptu sporting events and even a few entertainers like Wheeeelz the Clown from the Wilmington Shriners and dancers from Chakra Belly Dance in Stoneham.
For more information, visit the Relay for Life Stoneham website.
Did you participate in Relay for Life Stoneham? If so, upload your photos and videos to this post by clicking the "Upload Photos and Videos" button below the photo gallery. Make sure to provide a full-sentence caption and also the name of the photographer or videographer.