It is unusual for anyone to go through life without at some time or another being affected by the disease, but Jacqueline Rosinski and her family have found themselves facing maybe a little more than their share of cancer. And like any of us, she needed help. She found it through the American Cancer Society.
“My mother passed away from lung cancer," the New Lenox woman said. "My brother had throat cancer and my mother-in-law had lymphoma. When we asked for help, the ACS gave help and they didn't ask for anything, not one thing.”
For the past three years, she and her three daughters have donated their time and energy to the local Relay for Life.
“Amber is an artist and does all the face painting,” Rosinski said. “And Kristina and Kassandra are helping with the children's activities. As a family, we go there early in the morning to help set up, and we're there till the next day, Saturday.”
This year will be her first as the local event coordinator for Relay, an international American Cancer Society fundraiser that raises money for research and patient services.
Teams of eight to 15 people each set up camp around the track and rotate members to walk throughout the night. The event's theme is "Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back."
But work on Relay actually began last fall, Rosinski said, with committee meetings and a kickoff to support the teams. So far, the event is set to feature a DJ, a magician, singers, a puppet show and a jumpy for the kids. According to Rosinski, the Frankfort/Mokena Relay has moved in to the top 25 in the state of Illinois.
“Our financial goal is $187,000,” said Myra Kocsis, income development representative at the Tinley Park office of the American Cancer Society. “Last year we raised $171,000. We're doing really well. Right now, we have 44 teams registered and about 200 participants. Our goal is 78 teams and 600 participants.”
The first lap around the track is reserved for survivors, and the second for caregivers. The third lap is walked by everyone, and at 10 p.m. the luminaria ceremony takes place—a bag is lit for every loss to cancer and names are read aloud to the sound of bagpipes.
“It's an event that gives everyone in the community a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost and fight back against the disease,” Kocsis said.
But the solemn luminaria ceremony is the only one of its kind at Relay for Life. The rest of the night is intended to be an uplifting celebration.
Teams are still forming and the registration fee of $25 is waived through the end of this month (that's today). The event is open to everyone and sign-up is available online or by calling patient services at 800-782-7716.
“If you've ever been to a Relay it is just unbelievable,” Rosinski said. “The spirits, the healing, the camaraderie. It's just unbelievable.”