Tillery event fights cancer

Published 10:10 pm Thursday, March 31, 2011

Tillery Day: Last year’s C. Faye Tillery Day was an opportunity for hundreds to commemorate the life of Tillery, a former Suffolk Parks and Recreation employee who died of cancer. This year’s event will include information on cancer screenings and support services.

The annual C. Faye Tillery Day on Saturday will celebrate the life of a former city employee, provide resources for those currently fighting caner and raise a little bit of money for Relay for Life.

The event is held every year in the first weekend of April to commemorate Tillery’s life.

“It’s a way to celebrate the life of a dedicated park professional who cared about the city of Suffolk, as well as to bring awareness to cancer, which she succumbed to at the age of 37,” said Lakita Frazier, the city’s Parks and Recreation director.

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This year’s event will be held Saturday at the East Suffolk Recreation Center, located at 138 S. Sixth St. Activities kick off at 10 a.m.

At the event, coaches of the city’s recreational leagues, including soccer, basketball and cheerleading, will receive outstanding coaches’ awards. A number of basketball games will be played, including an all-star game from the city’s indoor basketball league, a game featuring coaches versus coaches and one pitting the recreation staff against the Tillery family.

“It’s just an opportunity for everyone to come together for a good cause, but also to recognize the importance of pre-screenings and early detection,” Frazier said.

At the event, staff will be distributing information about cancer resources and services that are available to survivors and caregivers.

“We found out that Suffolk has a high rate of individuals with prostate cancer,” Frazier said. “We’ll be encouraging men to go get tested.”

After Tillery’s death from ovarian cancer in 1998, the event began as a way to honor her and recognize the coaches in the youth program, which she was in charge of during her time in Suffolk. Within the last few years, it has morphed into a cancer awareness event, as well.

“I saw this as a perfect opportunity to bring awareness, and her family is in total agreement,” Frazier said.

The event is free and open to the public, but donations are welcomed and will go toward the city team’s captain for the American Cancer Society’s Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life. For more information, call 514-7250.