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The Courier/Photo by Alexa Altman
The Courier/Photo by Alexa Altman
Young supporters of the Howard Beach chapter of Relay for Life raised money for cancer research at the group's Kids Kare 2 event on April 29.

The parking lot at the corner of 151st Avenue and 84th Street in Lindenwood buzzed with children carrying foam swords, creating colorful sand art and jumping in and out of the inflatable bouncy houses –all were having fun and all were helping to fight cancer.

Over 1,400 people came out to help the Howard Beach chapter of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life at the group’s Kids Kare 2 event on Sunday, April 29, supporting the cause and raising money for cancer research.

“We were so happy that the community came together to have fun and for a great cause,” said Howard Beach Relay for Life co-chair Phyllis Inserillo. “We do whatever we can to support the cause and help everyone have a great time.”

Inserillo began the Howard Beach chapter of Relay for Life in 2009 with co-chair Melissa Schuler Fochetta, a cancer survivor. Forchetta, who was diagnosed in 2003, became good friends with Inserillo when the pair met in 2005 and began a party planning business together.

“We’re used to doing big events,” said Inserillo. “We wanted to do something community involved.”

That day, Kids Kare 2 raised $10,000 for cancer research, adding to the $150,000 to $200,000 the group accrues annually.

Inserillo hoped to thank all the event’s sponsors, most importantly Dr. Anthony Napolitano, who donated the parking lot where the event was held.

Throughout the year, the Howard Beach Relay for Life chapter hosts get-togethers such as a Halloween party and Bingo nights, raising money and spreading information about the cause. Group members also attend local schools, educating students about cancer prevention and the importance of early detection.

Kids Kare 2 is leading up to Relay for Life’s major event, a two-day walk-a-thon at Charles Park, beginning on June 9. Teams of between eight to 15 participants will raise money as they walk the park’s track.

Even Pia Toscano, of former “American Idol” fame, has assembled a group for this year’s Howard Beach Relay for Life.

Olympic events such as a javelin throw and swimming races will fill the day while there will be music, dancing and raffles all night. According to Inserillo, the event is to celebrate cancer survivors while remembering those who have succumbed to the disease.

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