Jennifer Collado and her sister Danielle Mahoney, who operate a small nonprofit called Seeds of Love, reached out the American Cancer Society (ACS) to register their team only to find out that there would be no Relay event in Astoria this year.
“Relay was our big thing, and they cancelled this year,” Collado said. “We were heartbroken that we had to tell a lot of people that support it with us that, ‘Hey, they decided that Astoria didn’t show enough interest so it was cancelled.’
“They claim that they didn’t have anyone to run the event, no planning committee,” Collado added. “And I guess when it came down to it, they were crunching numbers and they didn’t see that it was going to be beneficial to them.”
Relay for Life events are held throughout the country to raise money for cancer research. Cancer survivors and their friend and families walk around a track throughout the night in return for donations.
A representative from Relay for Life confirmed the cancellation, and said, “Sometimes they cancel them if they don’t have enough people signed up for the event, and they try to filter them to another event.”
According to an ACS insider, the 2013 Relay for Life event in Astoria Park raised roughly $25,000.
Collado and Mahoney said they were most upset because, from their point of view, there is a lot of support for an event in Astoria this year, but nobody asked the local volunteers who fundraise and attend the event annually if they would want to step up to lead their local Relay for Life.
In response to the cancellation, Mahoney said that she plans to host a picnic at Astoria Park on June 21, the day that the Astoria Relay was originally scheduled, so that local survivors and their families will still have a place to gather and celebrate in the spirit of celebration, remembrance and fighting back.
Mahoney said that as June 21 draws nearer, more details about the picnic will become available.
“There’s a girl in our school who is eight years old and a cancer survivor,” Mahoney said. “She thought she would be going to Relay and I want her and people like her to have somewhere to go.”