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Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Two years ago, when I was still in college and writing here just part-time, I got to cover the Relay for Life effort in town.

From the kickoff luncheon to the daffodil drive to the main event itself — for about six months if there was a story about the American Cancer Society, it seemed as though I was the one writing it.

And I loved it.

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But by the next year, I was doing only North Suffolk reporting and that left the Relay reporting to anyone who could handle whatever specific event was happening that week.

And I missed it.

Needless to say, this year as the ACS and Relay committee was gearing up to kick off Relay – I was pretty pumped to be the one tapped to be there.

Tuesday night, the 2009 Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life Kick-Off Celebration was held at the Celebrations Clubhouse.

Walking into the dining room was like walking into a high school reunion (or, so I would imagine; I haven’t actually had one yet).

There were members of every Relay committee, every ACS event staff and basically anyone I have called on for more information about anything regarding raising funds to research an end to cancer.

Every person I spoke to seemed to have the same excitement, same optimism and same passion for beating cancer that they did the first time I met them a couple of years ago.

That’s why I love the ACS volunteers and covering all that they do.

It’s kind of misleading to say that Tuesday night was a kickoff event, because they never stopped working from last year’s Relay. Between looking for new sponsors this year and finishing final tallies and awards from last year, there has always been something going on.

Also, half the people who work so hard to make Relay for Life happen also are working to make other ACS fundraisers — such as the Womanless Beauty Pageant and the Look Good, Feel Better campaign — come to life.

If you have been looking for a way to get involved right here in Suffolk, but you’re not sure where you’ll fit, this is the perfect place to start. The passion these volunteers have for bringing an end to cancer is contagious, and they want to get as many people involved in the fight as possible.

Visit the city’s Relay for Life site,, get a team to participate and realize you’re a part of a great legacy here in Suffolk.