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'Relay' celebrates life, survivors

"You can't put a number on the spirit and emotion," said Davidson. "That's what people take away from it."

Davidson noted that area young people played a role in the success of this year's event saying that they turned out in high numbers.

"Kids today have to have a community service commitment," said Davidson of college applications. "This event satisfies that objective, but you have a whole lot of fun doing it."

Indeed, two chemistry teachers from Saratoga Springs High School have generated a great deal of interest among their students. This was the third year they have organized a team of students, staff and faculty to participate in the Saratoga Relay For Life. This year's team included over 70 students and more than 25 faculty and staff. The group raised just shy of $13,000.

The Saratoga Blue Streaks Relay For Life team, led by teachers Cakte Stephen and Chris DeLorenzo, began their fundraising efforts by sponsoring a dance-a-thon this past spring. That alone generated $7,000 in donations.

"They're the kind of teachers that are so passionate about everything they do," said Jessica Shulte, a senior who participated in the Relay for Life Event. "You automatically want to be involved. You say 'Oh, I want to be part of this.' "

Shulte has participated in the Relay twice. She said she'll continue to participate in the Relay annually and look for events in the greater Boston area where she will be attending college in the fall.

"I think people hear the word cancer and assume its going to be sad and depressing," said Shulte. She encourages others to take part in next year's event, saying, "If you're involved you know how great it is. But if you've never been then you don't know. It's a celebration of life. It's uplifting."

Davidson agreed adding that people like to be involved in Relay events because, "This is a proactive thing they can do."

"Tears are shed but it is all for a good cause," summed up Shulte. "People are doing what they can to fight this disease." ""

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