PATTERSON – The weatherman cooperated. Golden sunshine and pleasant breezes welcomed hundreds to the Patterson Fire Department headquarters Saturday for Patterson’s 11th annual Relay for Life.
The event raised more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society upping the total garnered for cancer research to more than $900,000 since the first relay was held in northern Putnam in 2008.
Putnam County has been ranked by the American Cancer Society in the Top 5 across the United States per capita for fundraising.
Tracey Walsh, a cancer survivor and one of the organizers of the Putnam Relays for Life told opening ceremonies: “We are a community unified to fight cancer. Many heroes are found each day in the fight against cancer. There are the survivors, caregivers, doctors, donors and personal heroes. The Relay family is a real family. We need all of you to win the fight because when we work together we are stronger than cancer.”
Before lighting of the relay torch, breast cancer survivor Mike Singer, the Bronx man whose family resides throughout Putnam, told the audience: “Real men wear pink.”
Prior to his malignancy, Singer said he “never realized that men could develop breast cancer but in 2010, I found out.”
Singer admitted being embarrassed when first diagnosed but “embarrassment has been replaced by empowerment. I tell everyone, male or female, if you feel a lump in your breast, get it checked out.”
Lucas Martinez, 2, of Patterson, a cancer survivor who was diagnosed with a sarcoma and his dad, Joel cut the ribbon that kicked off the Survivor’s Lap and the 2019 Relay for Life began.
Walsh promised: “We will light up the day and finish the fight against this horrible disease that has affected every family in Putnam County.”