Relay for Life Marks 10 Years with Hope

June 27, 2014

by Sonny Tylus

Who knew 10 years ago that the Relay for Life in Salem would turn into the institution that it has become in Salem?  Nanci Carney and Mary Reese, the first chair people, hoped that it would continue and it has.  This year’s event was a little different in there was no sleeping over.  The relay ran from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the weather was ideal.

Terry Conroy, chairperson for the second year, started the event off by saying how the committee had listened to the committee and relayers by changing times and making it easier for teams.  She stated “our primary goal each and every year is to raise money in an effort to support programs that will fund research and offer relief to patients and their loved ones during their difficult journey with cancer.  But … let’s not forget the importance of having fun while doing so!”  She did mention that she was psyched because she would be sleeping in her own bed tonight.  She was pleased to announce the Salem Policemen’s Association had donated $7,000.  Blaine Stevens, Miss Greater Plaistow Outstanding Teen, sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”  After that, as usual, the first lap was the Survivors’ Walk.

Many teams sold food, had raffles or games to help raise money for the relay.  One team from Salemhaven has been selling cupcakes for the last five years.  The staff, friends and family participate in the venture.  Each person makes two dozen cupcakes to be sold at the relay.  The team members compete against each other.  For the last two years, the Salemhaven group, a Bronze team, has won the award for serving the best food.  On a lighter side, the DJ, Tyler Querolf from Canobie Lake Park, was holding a contest similar to the “Minute to Win It” game.  Team members would compete against each other on stage.

Larry Disenhof, who is the logistic coordinator, commented on how this was the best closing ever because they had the largest crowd.  “All 42 teams were given flowers and balloons.  As of last night they had raised over $100,000 and the number will continue to rise.”  You could actually watch the relay live on SCTV thanks to Tom Giarusso, Larry Seaman and the volunteers.  Larry’s dedication to this event is amazing.

This staff reporter is always amazed by the strength of the people who attend.  One of the women who I talked to before the event started said she had stage-3 cancer.  When asked if she would be taking part in the Survivors’ Walk, she said “no.”  Yet, she was seen later walking with a smile.  It is never too late to make a donation, go to or call Bianka at 471-4112