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Cancer fighters walk through the night in Huntley

(Sarah Nader – snader@shawmedia.com)
Cancer survivor Flora DeKoster (right) of Lake in the Hills dances to the music Friday while attending Relay for Life in Huntley. Relay for Life raises money for cancer research and cancer patients while helping spread awareness, celebrate survivors and remember those who lost their lives to cancer.

HUNTLEY – Their matching purple T-shirts were tied at the shoulders with thin, purple, satin ribbons.

“I’m the participant,” said Amy Huber, 35, of Huntley.

“And I’m the survivor,” said her mother, Andrea Berebitsky, also of Huntley.

They were two of roughly 250 people who would stride around the walking path at Deicke Park in Huntley as part of the 2012 Relay for Life of Northern Fox Valley, which started at 6 p.m. Friday and was to continue until 6 a.m. today. The relay is one of numerous similar events that raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.

Berebitsky wore a button on her T-shirt with a simple message: “Hope.”

In September, the 68-year-old will celebrate her 12th year as a breast cancer survivor, she said.

Friday marked Huber’s second year walking in the Huntley event as part of the Huntley Park District Rec ’N Roll team.

“It raises a ton of money and I just think it’s a bonding experience for people who’ve been touched by cancer,” Huber said. “It’s a fun, positive night.”

The mood was decidedly celebratory as about 40 survivors took to the walking path after brief opening ceremonies.

The event had raised roughly $35,000 before the night began, said Mike Jostes, the American Cancer Society staffer at the relay. He anticipated $10,000 to $15,000 more would be raised through onsite activities.

Volunteer event chairwoman Tiffany Scerbicke said she looked forward to a night full of activities, and to taking some laps on the quarter-mile loop with her daughters, Kacie, 5, and Sydney, 9.

“I’ve lost a lot of relatives and friends to cancer,” she said. “This builds awareness within the community.”

As Scerbicke spoke, the first few members of the survivors’ group strode past.

“That little girl is a cancer survivor,” Scerbicke said, her voice cracking slightly as she pointed to 7-year-old Teagan Haniszewski, who was riding by on her mother’s hip. “It’s a very emotional event.”

Howard Bloom of Pingree Grove participated with his wife, Vivian. Their daughter, Becky Bonnis, co-chaired the event, they said.

“Cancer is a terrible disease,” Howard Bloom said. “Long ago I didn’t think there was going to be anything that would stop it. But I’m really hopeful now.

“It takes the dollars to do the research,” he continued. “That’s why I’m here.”


To learn more about the American Cancer Society, or to donate, visit www.cancer.org.


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