The annual Relay For Life was originally scheduled to be held on the track at Paramus High School. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the American Cancer Society suspended all in-person events through the end of June, impacting the Paramus event among many others.
Paramus Relay For Life Event Leader Sindhu Rayapaneni, Senior at Paramus High School, said, “Relay For Life is truly about gathering together as a community to fight cancer. Having a virtual event allows us to do that while following the social distancing rules.”
To date the event has raised over $20,500 towards its goal of $100,000. Donations can be made on the event website, www.relayforlife.org/paramusnj. All donations benefit the American Cancer Society towards funding cancer research, supporting their 24/7 cancer information call center, and many other services that help those fighting cancer.
The Relay will begin on Friday, June 12th at 7pm with the Opening Ceremony during which students from the Event Leadership Team will announce fundraising totals to date, updates on other goals, and recognize key event sponsors and participants. Also, on Friday night will be a musical performance by Jake Thistle, a sophomore at Paramus High School. Jake entertains with guitar-driven classics and originals to audiences throughout the US, Europe, New York’s Radio City Music Hall, and at charity events including several for the American Cancer Society.
The “FUN”draising continues Saturday, June 13th at 2pm with a special ceremony to recognize the many local sponsors who are supporting the event, including Gold Level Sponsor Mercedes Benz of Paramus who made a $5,000 donation. Other top sponsors include Benjamin Moore Nortons Paint, Valley Health System, Greater Alliance Federal Credit Union, PAES: Paramus Association of Educational Secretaries, and Hackensack Meridian Health.
The American Cancer Society defines anyone who has been diagnosed with cancer to be a cancer survivor. Survivors are the VIPs of Relay For Life and receive special recognition. To date, over 60 cancer survivors had registered. John Uzzi, who has survived two battles against cancer within the past 20 years, will share his inspirational story. A special video will be presented to honor Caregivers who are also recognized as VIPs at Relay.
Bahama Breeze of Paramus has hosted a dinner for the Survivors and Caregivers at every Paramus Relay. With the event being held virtually this year, they have donated special
coupons for survivors and their caregiver to enjoy a delicious meal at their convenience. “Every year we look forward to hosting the Survivor and Caregiver Dinner at Relay. It’s
unfortunate that we can’t be there physically this year,” said Brian Mendez, General Manager of the Bahama Breeze of Paramus. “We still wanted to contribute and to honor these
inspirational people. By providing the coupons we are proud to continue our tradition of supporting the Paramus Relay. We look forward to seeing our Relay friends and family soon!”
Following the survivor ceremony will be a Relay Dance Exercise Party led by Jessica Walsh. Jessica is a Zumba instructor who leads Zumba, Zumba Gold, and Zumba Kids classes at Gold’s Gym in Paramus as well as at Valley Lifestyles Fitness in Mahwah.
The activities on Sunday, June 14th will also begin at 2pm with the annual Luminaria slideshow honoring and remembering those affected by cancer. Participants are encouraged to purchase luminaria bags on the event website and submit photos for the slideshow to [email protected] Mary Ann Uzzi, leader of the Paramus Stigma Free Initiative and wife of Survivor Speaker John Uzzi, will share her inspirational story as a Caregiver to a loved one with cancer.
After the Luminaria Ceremony will be a yoga session led by Erika DiPasquale, founder of the Relay For Life of Paramus, and an instructor at Root To Crown Yoga in Hackensack. The closing ceremony will conclude the weekend’s events and will feature videos of activities from prior Relays. Leaders for the 2021 event will also be introduced.
“We are so inspired and thankful that the Paramus Relay For Life wants to have their event despite the Covid-19 pandemic,” said American Cancer Society Community Development Manager Halle Baker. “The effort made to have a virtual event shows how passionate and enthusiastic these dedicated volunteers are.”
To participate in the virtual Relay For Life event, register for free on the Paramus event website, www.relayforlife.org/paramusnj and tune into their Facebook Page, Relay For Life of Paramus, starting at 7pm on Friday, June 12th. Luminaria bags can be purchased on the site in honor, memory, or support of someone affected by cancer. Donations are accepted throughout the event as well.
Relay For Life of Paramus was founded in 2013 by a group of students at Paramus High School.
The event is a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Held annually in June, the event celebrates cancer survivors, remembers those that participants have lost to cancer, and
encourages participants to fight back against the disease.
The event is planned by an all-volunteer committee made up of students, parents, and local community members. Thousands of participants from the local community participate each year. Since the event began it has raised over $800,000. For more information on the Relay For Life of Paramus, please visit www.relayforlife.org/paramusnj or contact the committee cochairs at [email protected] For more information about the American Cancer Society please contact Halle Baker at [email protected]