Shelton Relay for Life: Despite the heat, the committed gather for a cause



Hundreds gathered Saturday for the Relay for Life of Shelton and the Naugatuck Valley at Veterans Memorial Park (Riverwalk), raising money for the American Cancer Society. (Photos by Brad Durrell)

Mary Novotnak of Shelton, a breast cancer survivor, participates in her first Relay for Life with Team Ta-Ta-rific. “I want to give back to the previous generations for what they gave me — the help and the advantages in fighting cancer,” said Novotnak, a longtime Sikorsky Aircraft employee.

The Relay raises funds by having teams and individuals walk around a track, with the support of sponsors, for up to 24 consecutive hours.

The event includes ceremonies for cancer survivors and those who have succumbed to the disease.

Teams also set up tents with booths to sell items — such as food, clothing and art — to raise money for the nonprofit American Cancer Society.

The hot weather didn’t discourage the participants and visitors from helping the cause, with some people using umbrellas to block out the bright sun during daylight hours.

Holding their umbrellas to protect themselves from the hot sun are Kids Fighting for a Cure team members, from left, Veronica Shuby, 8; Jenna McDonald, 13; Jessie Shuby, 13; Sarah Discepola, 13, and Bianca Nazario, 12. The team hoped to raise $1,000 to fight cancer. All attend Shelton Intermediate School except Veronica, who goes to Sunnyside Elementary.
The band Forgotten by Friday performs for Relay for Life participants and visitors on early Saturday afternoon.

Shelton-Relay-forLife4Holding up Shelton Relay for Life T-shirts for sale at the event are organizing committee members, from left, Maria Driend of Shelton, Gail Heyse of Shelton, and Brittany Martin of Ansonia.

Preparing the pulled pork for sandwiches are Shelton Boy Scout Troop No. 101 representatives, from left, Tom Symski; Chandler Duhaime, 13, and Tom’s wife, Nancy Symski. Members of the troop, sponsored by Huntington Congregational Church, sold the sandwiches at their tent during the fund-raising event.
Rachel Fontes of Shelton pushes a wheelchair with Kyla Williams of Derby, joined by Kyla’s son, Trevor, 3, around the track at the Relay for Life at Veterans Memorial Park in downtown Shelton. Kyla’s ankle is in a cast.
Mary Silva of Shelton makes cotton candy while joined by Cynthia Messaoudi of Seymour, left, and Maryann Linebarger of Shelton, right, who is holding Mary’s daughter, Zoe, age 6 months. They were representing a family-based team named Saving Second Base.