Darlene Currie and Stacy Sperrazza faced a similar cancer diagnosis together, battled and beat the disease together, and walked the Relay for Life Survivor Lap together at the organization's June 3 event in Suffield.
The 19th annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life of North Central Connecticut, which included teams from East Granby, Enfield, Granby, North Granby, Simsbury, Somers, Suffield, and Windsor Locks, and held at Suffield Middle School, kicked-off at 10 a.m. with a survivor lap at 10:30 a.m. that honored all those who have overcome cancer, as well as the caretakers who put their lives on hold to help their loved ones.
June 4 was the organization's 30th annual National Cancer Survivors Day, celebrated by thousands of people around the world, ACS officials said.
Currie and Sperrazza were joined on that survivor lap by friend and caregiver Christina Long, of East Windsor, along with scores of others who have had their lives impacted by cancer in one form or another.
Sperrazza said she had always been dedicated to the ACS' self-described mission to "save lives, celebrate lives, and lead the fight for a world without cancer," but walking the track at Suffield Middle School took on a whole new meaning after her breast cancer diagnosis.
"I've been a longtime supporter of Relay for Life," she said while walking the survivor lap with Currie and Long.
For Currie, the event highlighted for her the important work the ACS does in its commitment to finding a cure for cancer and more importantly, the selflessness of local volunteers who make patients a priority.
"I'm very thankful and grateful," she said. "Events like this give us a lot of hope."
Mariah Nolan, Relay for Life community manager, said cancer survivors are the beacons of hope for the newly diagnosed, and those undergoing aggressive treatment alike.
It is especially gratifying and a reflection of the important work the ACS is doing to see people who participate in rallies move from patients to survivors.
"The survivor lap is a reminder of the success they've had in their fight against cancer," Nolan added. "It shows how relevant and prevalent these events are in our society."
Also read: Focus on breast cancer awareness