State College, PA - Centre County - Central Pennsylvania - Home of Penn State University

Happy Valley Relay Raises $174,000 for Cancer Research

by and on June 29, 2018 12:15 PM

The 14th annual Happy Valley Relay for Life fundraiser, featuring the theme "Wish Upon a Cure," was held June 23 and 24 at the Grange Fairgrounds in Centre Hall.

Relay for Life events honor cancer victims, celebrate cancer survivors and raise money for the American Cancer Society. The relays are held throughout the United States and in 19 other countries.

In Centre Hall, hundreds of participants, consisting of teams of cancer survivors, families and friends, walked laps around a course laid out at the fairgrounds during the 24-hour long event.

Many teams hosted games and raffles at their tents and trailers, and throughout the year preceding the relay held yard sales, sandwich sales and other fundraisers. According to local organizers, the event raised just more than $174,000 for the American Cancer Society over the past year.

Among the many relay teams was the Calvary Beats Cancer team, made up of members of Calvary Bible Church. Pastor Rick Gilbaugh said the church has several cancer survivors among its membership, including himself. “Every family is touched by cancer,” he said.
A luminaria service was held the evening of June 23, featuring hundreds of lighted bags, each one honoring either someone who has lost his or her battle with cancer or one who is currently fighting the disease.

The guest speaker during the service was Nikki Carey, of Clarion. Carey’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer when Carey was a teenager. At age 25, during a self-examination, Carey discovered a lump in her right breast and contacted a doctor, who then surgically removed the lump. Lab analysis of the tumor revealed it to be soft tissue single-cell sarcoma, a very rare form of cancer. The doctor told Carey she was only the 18th person in the world to have this type of tumor, which radiation and chemotherapy treatments cannot destroy. A mastectomy was her only choice to survive, and the doctor recommended taking both breasts.

Carey had the surgery, and she spoke of the support she received from family and friends during her recovery. Carey’s mother passed away from her cancer, which had spread to her liver.

Carey urged cancer victims to share their stories in hopes that speaking of the disease might prompt others to be aware of cancer symptoms and see a doctor quickly if they appear. 

This story was produced by the staff at the Centre County Gazette. It was re-published with permission. The Centre County Gazette is a weekly publication, available at many locations around Centre County every Thursday morning.

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