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All in the family

The members of a first-year team with the Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life are proving that size, age and experience do not matter when it comes to helping a member of their family.

In support of a staff member who has been battling cancer since 2008, staff at the Main Street Day Care Center at Main Street United Methodist Church wanted to put together a team for the Relay.

But they have put together much more than a team.

After enlisting the help of church members, parents, staff and board members, the day care’s Main Street Family has 45 participants and three teams that have raised $8,871.38 for the Relay.

“We usually support the March for Dimes each year, but the Relay for Life touched home with us this year,” said Krista Riddick, Main Street Family’s team captain. “Our original goal was to raise $3,000. When we realized how much we were able to raise, we changed our goal to $5,000. Now, we’re so close to $10,000 we’re aiming for that.”

Janis Greene is the assistant director of the day care and was diagnosed with cancer in March 2008. The cancer was cleared, but she was re-diagnosed in December 2009.

“It just turns your world upside down. It has just meant so much to have the support of the whole family here,” Greene said, beginning to tear. “Seeing everyone come together … It’s just … I can’t put words to it. We’ve got to find a cure.”

In their efforts to find a cure, the entire school began fundraising in February.

“We began by ‘Save Change to Change a Life’ and students brought in all the change they could collect,” Riddick said. “We raised $1,000 in nothing but change.”

From there, $1,300 was raised by selling cut outs that plastered the hallways of the school, $800 by selling daffodils and $400 in luminaria donations.

“We’ve followed things up with dinners and auctioning off our staff for babysitting,” Riddick said.

Electric Motor and Contracting Company, Family Medicine Associates and Dr. Wunderlich have also donated to the family’s efforts.

“The kids have been an instrumental part of fundraising,” Riddick said. “Through all our small things it’s made a big difference. Being involved with the Relay is just personal for us.”

In addition to helping find a cure, Riddick said the fundraising is helping teach the children an important value.

“The kids have been able to see first hand how a community works,” Riddick said. “They’ve seen that when a community works together, they can make a difference.”

While the family has already raised nearly $9,000, Riddick said it isn’t enough.

“I’ve been overwhelmed with the amount of work and the response put into the Relay,” Riddick said. “I never could have imagined we’d get this far, but we’re pushing hard to reach that $10,000 mark.”

In the days leading up to the Relay, to help the family reach its $10,000 mark, “we’ve been on Facebook soliciting all of our friends, talking to church members and just getting the word out any way we can,” Riddick said.

To donate to the Main Street Family, visit www.suffolkrockinrelay.org and click Relay Teams.