Relay for Life expects to raise $200,000

MORRISONVILLE - A record number of people turned out for this year's Plattsburgh's Relay for Life, all to support the American Cancer Society's mission to fight cancer.

On June 19, nearly 1,400 participants poured into the Clinton County Fairgrounds raising donations for the nonprofit organization which currently total more than $185,000. Three hundred survivors of the disease were at the event wearing purple shirts as proof the disease "can't win," as keynote speaker Gordon J. Hazel stated.

In his speech, Hazel, who is currently battling pancreatic cancer, had words of advice which he strongly emphasized

"I mean, everyone eventually dies from something," Hazel said. "But, it's important, it's very important, to know that human beings have survived every cancer known to man. So, I might die. This might eventually take my life. It might not. Either way, I'm telling you tonight, it cannot win."

Hazel, who many may know as the former executive director of the Joint Council for Economic Opportunity of Clinton and Franklin Counties, had some difficulty during his speech, as medicine he is currently taking affects his vocal cords.

"I almost declined the invitation to speak here today," Hazel explained during his speech. But, then he reminded the crowd "cancer can't win."

"I thought about that and I said, 'If I decline this invitation to speak ... I'm declining because I can't talk very well. And I can't talk very well because I'm taking a medication to fight cancer,'" said Hazel. "So, if I didn't come, I would have given that cancer some kind of power over me and I absolutely refuse to do that and let it win."

Throughout the rest of his speech, Hazel gave uplifting thoughts about cancer, including how he laughs at cancer every night when he goes to bed.

"When you have cancer and you can laugh about it, do it," Hazel urged. "Do it and save your worry."

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