BANGOR, Maine — The American Cancer Society has selected Jessica Sargent, 12, to serve as honorary chair for this year’s Relay For Life of Penobscot County, which will take place May 16 and 17, at University of Maine’s Morse Field .
Jessica’s father Mike Openshaw is fighting a rare form of metastatic cancer, and was the honorary chair at last year’s Relay. Jessica’s efforts to raise funds for cancer and cystic fibrosis research year round, and her ability to speak publicly at a young age are a couple of the myriad reasons she was chosen to represent Relay For Life of Penobscot County.
Last year for her birthday, Jessica decided she didn’t want presents. Instead, she asked for donations for cancer research and treatment. This year, as she turns 13, she is conducting a fundraiser at a local restaurant.
“Relay For Life does so much for my family. It’s what gives us hope that there will be a cure for cancer,” said Sargent. “Relay for life showed me not just to believe in miracles but that we can all work together to make them happen. Hope is something that motivates us every day. When my dad told me he had cancer, I was just a little girl who knew her dad was superman and was not sure what cancer was. He started getting so sick and it crushed me because I love him more than anything. The thought of losing him was unbearable. Relay for Life is great because you have people who support you in everything when you are having a hard time and who are fighting against the same horrible disease. There may not be a cure for the type of cancer my dad has, but there is no better treatment than love, support and hope.”
The world’s largest grassroots fundraising movement, Relay For Life mobilizes communities throughout the country to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and provide participants with an opportunity to fight back against the disease.
Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park or fairground, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times.
Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites at the event. Relay For Life brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, and faith-based groups all furthering the efforts of the American Cancer Society to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.
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