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THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre
Cancer survivors walked the first lap of the Relay for Life of Middle Village to raise money to fight the disease.

In 1994, just a few days after his 19th birthday, Darren Alloggiamento was diagnosed with cancer. Doctors discovered a brain tumor after he complained of a headache.

“I was so nervous and depressed,” Alloggiamento recalled.

He underwent successful surgery to remove the tumor a few weeks later. That year, the Queens native attended game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals to watch his beloved Rangers win the title.

Since his battle nearly two decades ago, he decided to donate to cancer research. He has attended the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Middle Village every year since 2004.

On June 22, dozens of survivors and about 1,000 other participants joined in the 11th annual Middle Village Relay for Life at Juniper Valley Park.

“My family was very supportive, but you need other survivors,” Alloggiamento said.

Sixty teams of nearly 600 participants total raised more than $184,000 for cancer research as of June 24, coming close to their goal of $200,000.

Communities across the country have held relays for more than 25 years since Dr. Gordy Klatt started the tradition to raise money for his local American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, Washington.

Today the event takes place in more than 5,000 communities across America, including numerous Queens neighborhoods.

“There is no finish line until we find a cure, which is why we walk in circles all night long,” said Leslie Orlovsky, who has directed the Relay at Juniper Valley Park since its inception.

“It’s too late for my son, but there are a lot of people that need the help,” said Maspeth resident Dolores St. Louis, whose son, Paul, died of cancer in 1996 at age 29. “People have to keep contributing so we can find a cure.”

 

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