BRISTOL - Local relatives of cancer survivors and those who lost loved ones to the disease were out on Memorial Boulevard Friday walking the track, and doing their part to fundraise for a cure at the Bristol Relay for Life.
Various groups dressed in team shirts and planned to stay up all night because “cancer never sleeps.”
Crystal Wishart was the head of one such team, “Wishbone’s Blueberry Pirates”, established in memory of her late husband, Thomas Wishart Jr., who died of melanoma (skin cancer) in 2010.
“My kids were 5, 8 and 10 years old at the time and this was something for them to participate in together,” said Wishart. “It has been a great experience for everybody involved. I have lots of friends that I met over the years that continue to camp next to us each year.”
Residents Erin Jones and Tom Berube said that they have been coming to the Bristol Relay for life for the past three or four years.
“My sister was just diagnosed with lung cancer,” said Berube. “This is all about people helping other people out and supporting them as they are going through this and helping to find a cure.”
Bristolites Nichole Beaulieu and Traci Fischer were making laps around the track Friday.
“It’s a great cause,” said Beaulieu. “We know many people who have dealt with cancer - my father in law, my aunts and uncles, far too many.”
Fischer said that she lost her mother-in-law to cancer.
Derrick Lachance, event organizer, said that more than 20 volunteers, comprised by students from Bristol High School and family members and friends of event organizers, were helping to make the Relay possible.
He stated that survivors lead the walk, while the Bristol Eastern School pep band plays.
A survivor dinner was also held Friday night and a luminary ceremony was held with candles inside of white bags lining the track. Organizers also put together a midnight movie screening of The Greatest Showman for participants.
This morning, participants will be able to get a pancake breakfast from 6 to 8 a.m. for $5.
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.