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Relay for Life to be held in Crown Point

Annual event has added meaning this year for co-chairs

Anita Johnson, left, and Carrie Pertak, who started the Relay for Life of Crown Point a year ago, now have an even greater stake in the event. Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and Pertak, her best friend, is her caregiver.

Anita Johnson, left, and Carrie Pertak, who started the Relay for Life of Crown Point a year ago, now have an even greater stake in the event. Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and Pertak, her best friend, is her caregiver.

— The second annual Relay for Life of Crown Point will be so much more than a benefit event for its co-chairwomen.

Anita Johnson and Carrie Pertak, who started the American Cancer Society fundrasier a year ago, now have an even greater stake in the relay. Johnson was diagnosed with breast cancer this spring and Pertak, her best friend, is her caregiver.

“The relay, especially the survivors ceremony, is always very emotional,” Johnson said. “I think it’ll be even more emotional for me this year. It’s been quite an experience.”

The Relay for Life of Crown Point will be held Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 10 and 11, at Crown Point Central School. It will begin with a survivor ceremony at 7 p.m. Saturday followed by teams walking until 7 a.m. Sunday to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

“I’ve always done relays, but this one will be different,” Pertak said. “Fortunately, I’d never had a loved one or someone I know diagnosed with cancer. I can’t say that anymore.”

Johnson had experienced unusual pain, but choose to ignore it until attending a Relay for Life workshop earlier this year. A speaker at the gathering stressed the importance of raising not only money, but awareness of cancer and the benefits of early detection.

“He said something like, ‘If the only thing Relay accomplishes is to get people to listen to their bodies and get things checked out when they think something is wrong, sooner, we have done our jobs’,” Johnson recalled.

Johnson called her doctor as soon as she got home from the workshop.

She was diagnosed May 2 and had a mastectomy May 16. She’s now receiving chemotherapy treatments that will be followed by radiation treatments.

“I hope to be cancer-free by Thanksgiving,” Johnson said, “but that seems like a very long way away.”

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