Norwin takes cancer fight to the track

| Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 4:51 a.m.

Relay For Life of Norwin participants received their shirts on Tuesday night for this weekend's cancer awareness and fundraising event at Norwin High School.

This is the ninth year for Norwin's Relay, which raised more than $82,000 last year. This year's goal is $90,000.

“We have 40 teams signed up and, to date, have raised more than $41,000,” said Relay chairperson Kelly Fennessy. “Our teams are incredibly dedicated and work all year long to raise money for the American Cancer Society. It's always great to see the mix of veteran teams and newcomers, all working toward the same goal — to create a world with more birthdays and less cancer.”

Setup will be at Knights Stadium in North Huntingdon Township on Saturday at 7 a.m.The opening ceremony will be at 11 and a luminary ceremony is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. Festivities conclude with a victory lap on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Relay is free and open to the public. There will be bands, booths, games, raffles, food, a DJ and numerous fun-themed laps throughout the day.

A new team this year is from Big Nick's Pizza in North Huntingdon Township. Owner Nick Taylor said his shop hosted a fundraiser for former Relay chairperson Penny Whalen's team on June 13 and became interested in the effort.

“It went really well. Everybody had a great time,” Taylor said. “They talked to us about creating our own team. It was something that I always wanted to do, being involved in the community. I just see it as an all-around good idea. It's a lot of fun and benefits everybody.”

Cancer also is close to home for Taylor. He said his step-mother was diagnosed with melanoma seven years ago.

“She's in remission,” Taylor said. “They gave her five years to live and she's lived a year or two past it. She's much better than she was before.”

Employees, family and friends will be walking laps and helping out in a food booth.

“I think it's really positive,” he said of the Relay. “I think it's more of an uplifting experience whether you still have cancer or not. So many more people are going through the same thing ... it should boost anybody's spirits to know they are not alone and to know that people are overcoming and surviving. Nobody wants to be alone in any situation.”

This year, the American Cancer Society turned 100 years old and has made “Finish the Fight” its motto.

“Relay is a community-based event,” ACS staff partner Christine Yocum said. “We focus all of our fundraising efforts in and around the community. We involve businesses, families and schools, and we all come together for this one cause on this one day for 24 hours; cancer never sleeps so neither do we. We all work throughout the year to raise awareness and funds for the American Cancer Society. And that money comes right back into the community to help cancer patients.

“The American Cancer Society offers free rides to treatment through their Road to Recovery program and helps women facing cancer feel better about their appearance through the Look Good...Feel Better program. Most people have some relationship to cancer, so the entire community can come together on common ground. It is a true pleasure working with people who are passionate about ending this disease. Without passionate volunteers, the event and the work that the American Cancer Society does could not happen.”

“At Relay For Life of Norwin, we want to be part of that quest to make this cancer's last century,” Fennessy said. “You hear it a lot, but it's so true — everyone has been touched by cancer in some way. On the track during Relay For Life, you can feel that shared connection among all the teams and community members that stop by. It's amazing to see the community come together like that. We encourage everyone to stop by on Relay day and see what Relay For Life is all about.”

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More information about ACS is available online at or by calling 800-227-2345.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-664-9161 ext. 1965, or

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