Relay for Life Begins Year 3 in Ferndale

By, Crystal A. Proxmire


Sitting at tables topped with birthday balloons and colorfully wrapped presents, volunteers and walkers were brought to tears by the sorties of cancer survivors, caregivers and those who have lost loved ones to the disease at the Relay for Life Kick off Celebration last week.


Kim Hughes shared her “Story of Hope” about her experience in turning to The American Cancer Society for help with her father’s cancer diagnosis.  “I called the 800 number [1-800-227-2345] and was able to get more information in the ten to fifteen minute conversation in any of our research before.  “Sometimes you can call and you don’t even know what it’s for, but they are experts who are trained to know how to help you.”


“Today I spread hope by being a caregiver and telling my dad’s story,” she said.  Hodge will walk along with people from many area groups including Ferndale Adult Ed, Ferndale Labs, Ferndale Area Chamber of Commerce, Harding Cancer Haters, Snap Fitness-Ferndale and at least 11 other teams on June 12-13, 2010 beginning at 10 A.M. at Ferndale High School to raise money for cancer research.  For 24 hours walkers will circle the track in honor of loves ones with cancer, who have survived cancer, who have passed.  They also celebrate caregivers and those who mourn the loss of a loved one. 


The theme this year is celebrating birthdays, with the hope of helping those with cancer see more of them.


“My dad is 67 years old.  Each day is truly a gift – enjoy it,” Hughes said.  “Don’t focus on survival rates.  You have to believe you can beat this!”


Beth Collins said that 58 people a day in Metro Detroit are diagnosed with cancer.  “The American Cancer Society has spent $3.4 billion on cancer research, with $15 million spent here in the Detroit area.”  She urged people to sign up for a team or to start one of their own.


Ferndale High School Orchestra Director Ben Moy shared his experience as a team leader for the Ferndale High School Orchestra and Friends team.  “I assure you it isn’t as intimidating as it might seem,” Moy said.  “They make it easy for you.  They give you a place you can put in e mail addresses and they even write the email for you.  Our team also raised $300 alone just taking dollar donations for the paper feet.  Moy said the students also turned old musical instruments into artwork to sell.


Jackie Koivu is the volunteer coordinator for Relay for Life Ferndale.  She got involved in Relay for Life last year after a disappointing Relay experience at Marygrove College the year before.  “I walked the track by myself all night.  It was lonely, but after walking around so many times and reading the illuminated bags I felt like I really knew all the people being remembered.  It was such a touching experience.  But I was also sad and disappointed because there weren’t many people walking, and they weren’t doing anything to make it fun either.  In Ferndale we can make things fun and memorable.”


For more information about Relay for Life go to

Send us your opinion or question! Your response could be in our FERNDALE VIEWS section next issue!