Mary Novotnak of Shelton, a breast cancer survivor, participated in her first Relay for Life last weekend at the Riverwalk.

“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 who was a member of Team Ta-Ta-rific.

Novotnak was diagnosed with cancer 18 months ago, and proudly wore the “Survivor” sash as she walked around the track to help raise funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS).

Despite the unusual heat on Saturday, hundreds began gathering Saturday at noon for the relay.

The event raises funds through teams having at least one member walking around a track, with the support of sponsors, for up to 24 consecutive hours.

Ceremonies and booth sales

The relay includes ceremonies for cancer survivors and those who have succumbed to the disease, as well as live entertainment.

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.

According to the Shelton Relay for Life’s website, 48 teams and 450 participants raised more than $77,000 for the ACS at this year’s event.

Kids for a Cure

Among the members of the Kids Fighting for a Cure team were Shelton residents Sarah Discepola, 13; Jenna McDonald, 13; Bianca Nazario, 12; Jessie Shuby, 13; and Veronica Shuby, 8.

The team hoped to raise $1,000 to fight cancer.

“We did it last year because my grandma had breast cancer,” said Jessie Shuby, explaining how she and her friends became involved in the charitable event.

A family-based team

Mary Silva of Shelton was making cotton candy to sell, joined by her six-month-old daughter Zoe, Maryann Linebarger of Shelton, and Cynthia Messaoudi of Seymour.

They were part of a family-based team named Saving Second Base.

Shelton Boy Scout Troop No. 101, based at Huntington Congregational Church, sold pulled pork sandwiches from their tent to raise funds, aided by an outdoor smoker grill.

Preparing the pork at the start of the event were husband and wife Tom and Nancy Symski, and troop member Chandler Duhaime, 13.