Event moves to Veterans Memorial Park for more visibility

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published February 23, 2016

File photo by Donna Agusti

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Karleen Beaupre relays for her son, and in memory of her best friend.

“My son is a cancer survivor,” said the St. Clair Shores mother. “He’ll be 13, (but) he was diagnosed at 5” with Wilms tumor, a kidney cancer.

“We definitely need to find a cure.”

Beaupre was one of dozens gathered Feb. 15 at the St. Clair Shores Senior Activities Center to help kick off the St. Clair Shores Relay for Life for 2016. Since her son’s diagnosis, she said, both her grandmother and best friend were diagnosed with cancer; her best friend passed away in the summer of 2015 from brain cancer. Beaupre has been involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life for six years, and said it helps people feel like they’re accomplishing something by participating and raising money for the American Cancer Society.

“We need to find a cure,” she said.

Tasha Herron, of St. Clair Shores, first became involved with Relay for Life in 2008 through her employer.

The next year, however, it got personal — she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Now, she said, she relays as a survivor and is a co-chair of this year’s event.

This year, the St. Clair Shores Relay for Life will be held in a new location. It is moving from Blossom Heath Park to Veterans Memorial Park and will be held from 2 p.m. June 3 to noon June 4.

“We think we’re going to have better visibility,” she said.

Relay for Life typically is a 24-hour event, but in 2015 the St. Clair Shores group ran its event from 5 p.m. Friday to noon Saturday to better accommodate those who work during the week. Herron said the event was a bit rushed, however, which is why the 2016 relay will start three hours earlier.

Mindi Priskey’s mother-in-law introduced Priskey to Relay for Life four years ago. Priskey, of Chesterfield Township, is the other co-chair of the 2016 event.

“My life has been touched by cancer,” she said. “When you see how many people in your life it affects and you have the ability to step up, you (should).”

The more people who help out, the more lives that can be saved, she said.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 4 million people come together at Relay for Life events around the world each year. The ACS has invested more than $3.9 billion into cancer research since 1946.

“It’s a good rally to come together and fight back. It’s our signature fundraiser,” said Erin Bovian, community manager for the ACS.

In addition to research dollars, the ACS also provides support to those with cancer and their caregivers, provides rides to treatment, helps those in need of help with paying for lodging when they have to travel for treatment, and provides education and support.

With relay, Bovian said, “St. Clair Shores is essentially helping find a cure for cancer.”

Fourteen teams have registered so far, but there is plenty of time to get involved, she said.

To sign up, email tasha.herron@yahoo.com or mindipriskey@yahoo.com, or visit relayforlife.org/stclairshoresmi for more information.

The St. Clair Shores Relay for Life includes many fun activities for visitors. In 2015, there was a raffle that included prizes like big-screen TVs, iPads, airline tickets and more, as well as a 50/50 raffle that had a jackpot of more than $2,500.

There will be plenty of children’s activities, and the park’s splash pad will be open. A pancake breakfast will be held 8-11 a.m. June 4 in the park to raise money too.

“It’s a fun event — a lot of positive energy,” Priskey said. “You see survivors, warriors, doing their laps. This is so much bigger than anything we have going on in our lives.”

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