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Relay for Life kick-off events to take place over next few weeks

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North country community teams are gearing up for the annual Relay for Life fundraising season, to benefit the American Cancer Society.

Kickoff programs will take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Ogdensburg Free Academy, March 4 at the Lowville Elks Lodge, Lowville, and at 6:30 p.m. March 6 at the Ramada Inn, Watertown.

“We’re looking for anyone interested in fighting cancer,” said Donald J. Boshart, community executive for the American Cancer Society. “A lot of times they feel helpless. Raising funds and attending events, and bringing survivors to events helps. Anyone recently diagnosed may see there’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”

Mr. Boshart said the American Cancer Society uses Relay for Life money for cancer research. The agency also offers college scholarships, Reach to Recovery program to help connect breast cancer patients/survivors with people recently diagnosed with breast cancer, Look Good, Feel Better program to educate people on how to apply makeup and do hairstyles, In 2012 alone, Mr. Boshart said, cancer patients and their caregivers from Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties spent 1,650 nights at Hope Lodges.

According to the American Cancer Society’s most recent statistics from 2011, a majority of Lewis, Jefferson and St. Lawrence counties’ cancer cases are prostate, breast, lung and bronchus, and colorectal. Throughout the Relay for Life fundraising season, Mr. Boshart said, he and other American Cancer Society representatives will provide any support needed to help teams run successful campaigns.

“We’re the information source,” Mr. Boshart said. “If they call us and we can’t help them, we network with organizations across the nation. We help navigate the system.”

The north country’s Relay for Life events will be May 31 to June 1 for Lewis County, June 14 and 15 for Jefferson County and June 7 and 8 for Ogdensburg.

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