People raise hope, funds in fight against cancer

GLOVERSVILLE – A crowd of more than 100 cancer survivors began the 2013 Relay for Life with the song “We Are the Champions” playing at the track at Park Terrace Elementary School.

Among those survivors was Jenny Bushey. Speaking to the crowd, Bushey – who was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was in college -? said she was told she had four years to live.

However, the Ephratah resident said it has been 16 years since she was diagnosed.

She noted plenty of others in attendance are fighting cancer, or their cancer is in remission.

“The bottom line is, you are here,” Bushey said.

In addition to cancer survivors, many friends, family members and wellwishers gathered at the school to help raise money for the American Cancer Society.

For this year, the Relay for Life had about 60 teams and more than 800 participants, raising – as of Thursday – $73,712.

Andria Scarchilli of the ACS said the goal was to raise more than $160,000 this year for the organization.

“We’re going for more every year,” Scarchilli said.

Event Chairwoman Sandy Sacerio spoke with those in attendance about the importance of the event: to make sure more people survive their battles with cancer.

“We work really hard to make sure we have more of you,” Sacerio said.

Mayor Dayton King spoke to those in attendance, as well.

“This event is something I think touches all of us …,” King said. “Cancer does not discriminate. It doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, young or old. It does not care about your political views.”

Carol Russell, a survivor of breast cancer, was diagnosed at the end of 2009.

“I found my lump,” she said, crediting a self-exam with helping to save her life.

With help from her doctors, the cancer was defeated with chemotherapy and hormone therapy.

“Knock on wood, I’m cancer free,” Russell said.

Russell said this was her first year walking at the event, and she had mixed emotions about it.

“I’ve lost family members to cancer. I recently lost my friend, who had an incredible battle with breast cancer. But in my treatment, I learned that – compared to some other people – I had it easy. There were other patients in treatment that made me feel guilty about being there,” Russell said. “… I found myself to be fortunate.”

Scott Iler, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer, said it felt “pretty awesome” to walk in the event with other cancer patients and survivors.

“I’m not alone, let’s put it like that,” Iler said.