By ELISE McKEOWN SKOLNICK
People clapped and cheered as cancer survivors took a lap around the Fitch High School track June 7 for the Austintown Relay for Life. Friends and family filled the track and the area around it for the annual event, which raises money for the fight against cancer.
Rita White walked the track to support her daughter, a three year breast cancer survivor.
“We’re here to support the cause and be with the other survivors and caregivers, and to show our support as best we can,” White said.
White participates in many Relay for Life events.
“The fact that she’s still a survivor is very important,” White said. “There is strength in numbers.”
Stacie Lesicko has been participating in Austintown’s relay for three years. She is an eight-year thyroid cancer survivor. Lesicko’s grandmother is also a survivor, and she lost an aunt to the disease.
“I think it’s important to raise the money for research,” Lesicko said.
Her father, Ray Fowler, and sister, Ashley Fowler, attended the event, as well.
“It’s good to come and support our survivor,” Ashley said.
Ray said he attends because he supports his children.
“I definitely support her,” Ray added. “She’s a fighter.”
Ray also said it’s remarkable to see so many people come together to support the event.
Many community groups formed teams to raise money for the event. The Fitch High School Key Club, a service organization, participates annually. Teams typically choose a theme and this year Key Club chose ‘Where in the World is Waldo?’
Caroline Lacusky, a member of the club, dressed as Waldo. Lacusky chose to walk the track for the full 24 hours of the event, something she hasn’t done in the past.
“I think it’s a good way to show survivors you care,” Lacusky said. “It’s a good thing to do.”
Kylie Gessner, also a member of the Key Club, said her grandmother had cancer a few years ago.
“I don’t think it’s anything any person in the world should have to go through,” Gessner said.