There is an interesting and important component of the 4th annual Patterson Relay for Life, to be held on Saturday, June 10 at the Patterson Fire House on Route 311, that community members may participate in, whether they are walking in the event or not, in order to help find a cure for cancer.
That is because this year the Patterson Relay has been chosen by the American Cancer Society as one of the hundreds of Relay events around the country where a study will be conducted that potentially will help to identify environmental and lifestyle causes of different types of cancer.
To do the study, the ACS enlisted the help of volunteers Patterson resident Lorraine Calebrese and Wingdale resident Ora Scalamandre who traveled to Minnesota to receive training. The two women then returned home and passed on their knowledge to another 13 volunteers.
Over the course of the past several weeks, Calebrese and Scalamandre having been talking to community groups, including the fire department, the Patterson Rotary Club and the schools, to get the required 175 participants to volunteer.
“We are asking people to stop by that day and participate,” Calabrese said.
The Relay cancer study, which will go on the day of the event from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., will entail participants filling out an application with the assistance of a volunteer and then giving a small blood sample.
Because the point of the nationwide survey is track who gets cancer, everyone who signs up to be part of the study must be free of any previous cancer diagnosis and must be within the ages of 30 and 65 years old.
“I’m a cancer survivor, so unfortunately, I can’t be part of the study,” Calabrese said.
Two weeks after Relay, participants will be sent another follow-up questionnaire that should take less than an hour to complete.
“The point is to follow them for the next 20 to 30 years,” Calabrese said.
Every two years heading into the future, participants will be asked to again fill out a survey.
“What they are looking for is why does one person get cancer and their neighbor doesn’t. Why does another person get cancer and their sister doesn’t,” Calabrese said.
Those questions are ones that are very close to Calabrese’s heart.
Her 86-year-old mother was diagnosed with breast cancer 27 years ago and survived. Then her sister was diagnosed more than a decade ago, prompting Calabrese to get involved with the Mahopac Relay for Life. Several years later, Calabrese and her late husband both received cancer diagnoses within three weeks of each other and sadly he passed away from the disease seven years ago.
“It’s an important study to me,” she said, adding that she believes there must be a genetic link in her family’s cancer diagnoses. “But then I have another sister who hasn’t had breast cancer?”
Calabrese, a 16-year resident of Patterson, was part of the group who brought the Relay event to Patterson several years back.
It’s a family affair for Team Race For a Cure, that includes her daughter Candace, who as a cheer leading coach inWestchesterrecently raised $1,700 for Relay through a cheer-a-thon, and her grandchildren, among many other members of her extended family.
Any and all residents of PutnamCountywho would like to join in the cancer study are welcome to show up the day of the event.