BY DEAN MOSES
The American Cancer Society and the Relay For Life of Middle Village hosted their kickoff event in Maspeth on Wednesday, March 4, as they gear up for their 18th annual Relay for Life event.
During the event — held at O’Neill’s Restaurant (64-21 53rd Dr.) — attendees were invited to dress in their favorite jersey and in doing so, they were entered into a raffle to win a pizza party and snack cooler for their team on relay day. There was another raffle for anyone who wanted to donate $10, and they would receive a VIP Basketball Experience, which offered the winner tickets to a St. John’s men’s basketball game at Madison Square Garden, early entry and behind the scenes tour of Madison Square Garden, a gift bag and on-court photos.
Attendees could be heard chatting about their plans for the next relay while enjoying a delicious buffet. There were also some guest speakers, who discussed the importance of relaying.
One of the guest speakers, Judy Delaney, who worked with the American Cancer Society’s Road to Recovery as a volunteer driver for many years. Through her experience helping patients, she met Michelle Murray, who became her close friend and now, instead of driving to cancer treatments, they drive to fun places together. Unfortunately, Delaney has also been diagnosed with cancer.
Following the speeches, there was announcement that Juniper Valley Park track, the usual location where the relay has been held for many years, is undergoing construction. The American Cancer Society has been working with Middle Village organizers and Councilman Robert Holden’s office to find a new location. At the moment, they have the eyes set on Elmhurst Park, but no permits have been approved yet.
The festivities also included games where guests participated in word games for a chance to win water bottles and an award ceremony for those whose steadfast dedication in each relay always goes above and beyond. Maspeth Federal Savings Bank also presented Middle Village Relay for Life with a $10,000 check.