When Locust Valley students set their minds to helping others, there are no limits to what they can achieve. They recently proved this point by raising more than $120,000 for cancer research  – a record-breaking amount for the school – through Relay for Life.

More than 300 people and nearly 40 teams participated in the event, held May 15 on the high school football field. Students, faculty, family members and friends arrived despite the chilly weather. Organized by the school’s Cancer Awareness Club in conjunction with the American Cancer Society, the event included games, music, dancing and the option to sleep over. Participants also walked laps around the track to show support for those affected by cancer and to celebrate those who have survived. Those choosing to spend the night pitched tents, set up picnic tables and wore team shirts to show their support in honor of loved ones fighting cancer, as well as those who lost their battles and those who have survived. Relay for Life also focuses on caregivers, who often sacrifice much as well.

Cancer Awareness Club officers worked for months to ensure that the fundraiser went smoothly, and they were very pleased with the results. Senior Paige Gugerty, an event chairperson and longtime Relay for Life participant and organizer, said, “As I looked out at the huge crowd of people relaying in memory of their loved ones or for those courageous family members fighting cancer, it felt good to have been part of the leadership team that organized the event, which set a Locust Valley fundraising record. It was the perfect way to end my nine-year Relay career at Locust Valley, which has been one of the most satisfying activities I have ever participated in."

Paige worked with committee members Lindsay Bleistein, Melissa Cooney, Erin Gresalfi, Taylor Herlich, Kristy Jahchan, Taylor Lomonaco, Anastasia Megaloudis, Victoria Oxer, Liza Scuderi and Lydia Volpe. 

Cancer Awareness Club advisor Scott St. Denis said the students should be commended for taking charge, giving it their all and organizing such a successful event. He commended the community as well for uniting to support this worthy cause. “The event itself was a humbling reminder of what a community, no matter the size, is capable of creating,” he said. “Coming together to support a cause that has affected everyone in some way, shape or form is always an unforgettable experience, but being able to raise the money that this event brought in will help so many people in their fight against cancer. That is truly an unforgettable experience in and of itself.”