Fifteen years ago, former Schreiber health teacher Patricia Kosiba started Relay for Life as a small event here in Port Washington. Now, Port Washington’s Relay for Life is the largest and longest running in all of Nassau County. Brought to us by the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life is an overnight event where teams walk relay-style to raise money for cancer research. Held right on Schreiber’s track, Port had about 30 or 40 teams of 10 to 15 people participating. Each team raised more than $1,000. This year’s Relay for Life was held on Saturday, June 18, where a grand total of $110,320 was raised. The night was filled with celebration and remembrance of those whose lives have been affected by cancer as well as being a fun-filled event that brings the whole community together.
The evening began with a lap around the track dedicated to all the survivors, followed by a lap for all the family, friends and caregivers. After that, the night is filled with fun games, like bubble soccer, KanJam, Spikeball and giant Jenga and performances by local bands from Bach to Rock music school. There was even a wings eating contest sponsored by Port’s very own Wings Plus.
Emily Epstein and Dana Nissan, team coaches and captains of the Bronze Team, FAB, have been involved in Relay since their freshman year of high school. When asked what Relay for Life meant to them, they said, “Relay is chance for our community to come together and try to create a world with more birthdays.”
During the middle portion of the event, a luminary of glow sticks was lit for each individual you knew who was fighting or fought for cancer. After all the glow sticks were cracked, the glowing field was awe-inspiring. The word “hope” was lit up on the bleachers behind the field. As people made their way around the track in silence, lighting the individual luminaries of loved ones, participants relayed for hope.