Cromie Cougars to combat cancer

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published June 3, 2019

 During a past American Cancer Society Relay for Life event, Cromie Cougars team members, from left, Molly Smith, Chloe Sakalas, Julia Hawe, Jadyn Pilarski, Katie Paige and Richard Yako help raise money. This year’s event will be held June 8-9 in St. Clair Shores.

During a past American Cancer Society Relay for Life event, Cromie Cougars team members, from left, Molly Smith, Chloe Sakalas, Julia Hawe, Jadyn Pilarski, Katie Paige and Richard Yako help raise money. This year’s event will be held June 8-9 in St. Clair Shores.

Photo provided by Lora Pilarski

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WARREN/ST. CLAIR SHORES — The Cromie Cougars team will again come together to do their part to fight cancer, help people battling it and remember those who died from it.

The Cougars, out of Cromie Elementary School in Warren Consolidated Schools, will participate in the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour Relay for Life of the Eastside from noon June 8 to noon June 9 at Veterans Memorial Park, 32400 Jefferson Ave. in St. Clair Shores.

With this year’s theme of “movies,” the Cromie Cougars are doing “The Greatest Showman” and decorating their station with a circus style. Each team at Relay for Life has a booth. The teams solicit monetary donations throughout the year to benefit programs within the American Cancer Society that help families living with cancer.

Cromie Elementary School teacher Lora Pilarski has participated in the event for several years, including when Warren held its own Relay for Life. In 2011, she became even more active as a team participant, team captain and then committee member. The event joined with Relay for Life of the Eastside last year. Relay for Life of the Eastside encompasses the cities of Warren, Eastpointe, Roseville, St. Clair Shores and the Grosse Pointes. Several sponsors help make the event happen.

“I started becoming active when a co-worker was diagnosed,” Pilarski said in an email. “Not long after, my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer. This is when I went on a mission to fund a cure. Sadly, our list of names of the people we know that have been affected by cancer just keeps getting longer. My biggest motivation is the feeling of helplessness I had when my aunt was ill. I wanted to do more.  I now try to do what I can in her honor.”

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is held in countless communities across the world. There is a track that teams walk on, and during the 24-hour event one team member must be on the walking track at all times. Teams camp overnight, and there is a Survivor Lap held during the day, plus a Luminaria Ceremony held after dark in remembrance of those who have died.

Pilarski’s aunt, Darlene McKay, died from breast cancer several years ago. She was the sister of Pilarski’s mom, Diane Mastin, who always attends Relay for Life in honor of her sibling.

About 20 members have officially signed on as Cromie Cougars, but many more people attend the event to help out. The team is made up of family, friends, students and their parents, staff members, and even former students and their families. The team is still accepting members. For more information, visit www.relayforlife.org.

According to the American Cancer Society website, www.can cer.org, one out of three people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.

“Help even the odds in the fight against cancer. The funds you raise through Relay for Life will not only honor survivors and remember loved ones, but also help give cancer patients and their families the resources they need, like free rides to chemo, free places to stay near hospitals, and a live 24/7 help line for answers and support,” the website states.

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