Sixty-seven teams with 680 registered participants raised more than $88,000 for the fight against cancer when the sixth annual Relay For Life of Falls Church filled the football field at George Mason High School last Saturday night.
This year participants were rewarded with a near-perfect summer evening, providing teams the opportunity to keep a team member walking throughout the night and continue raising money to support the American Cancer Society’s fight against the disease.
This year’s Luminaria Ceremony included remarks by Sam Waters, a member of the 2011 graduating class of George Mason High School, whose plans to enter college last fall were disrupted when he discovered he had cancer and had to undergo surgeries and months of chemotherapy and radiation. Waters, who had received the 2011 “Cappie” Award for best male vocalist in a regional high school musical for his performance as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables,” described the emotional highs and lows of his battle against the disease. Then Waters announced he would be entering college this fall, and showed that his voice remained strong as he and his brother, Tyler, performed a moving song as participants walked several quiet laps of the track, lit only by luminaria candles bearing the names of persons who had died of cancer or who were survivors of the disease. Waters urged participants to continue to raise money to support research for a cure to cancer.
The Fun Bunch, captained by Jo Wood, was recognized as the top fund-raising team, raising $7,117 before the evening’s deadline. Moneypenny Miracles, captained by Ashley Smith, was second, followed by Apex Systems DC, captained by Ashley Kern. Jo Wood was the top individual fund-raiser, followed by Marissa and Victor Mulero and Blair Purdy. This year’s relay attracted teams from Marshall, Langley and Yorktown High Schools, in addition to the many teams organized by students from the Falls Church schools.