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by Terri Hogan
Senior Staff Writer
Olney’s 12th annual Relay for Life, scheduled for June 10 at Sherwood High School, is an opportunity for the community to join together to celebrate people who have battled cancer and remember those who are gone while raising money for the American Cancer Society.
For the Angiola family of Olney, Relay has become a way of life.
Nicholas Angiola may be only 10 years old, but he is looking forward to participating in his 11th Relay event.
DeAna, Nicholas’ mother, began participating in Relay for Life while in college.
“Back then, you stayed on the track for 24 hours and they kept track of your laps,” she said. “I walked 26 miles one year — the most of anyone on the East Coast.”
She was inspired by her grandfather, who had prostate cancer. After being in remission, he died in 2013.
“I felt connected at Relay and it was a great outlet,” DeAna Angiola said. “Seeing people pulling together really pulled me in and I have loved it ever since.”
She previously participated in Relays in Rockville, Westminster and Damascus, but has participated in Olney since it began.
Nicholas attended his first Olney Relay meeting when he was just 10 weeks old. That was the first of many — he and his sister Grace, 6, attend all of the planning meetings with their mom.
Three years ago, at age 7, Nicholas set a fundraising goal of $2,500, which would be a lofty goal for an adult. But he surpassed that goal, earning more than $2,600 selling bookmarks, bracelets and other handmade items, and asking people to sponsor him in a readathon.
Grace, following in her brother’s footsteps, is now coming up with her own ideas to raise money.
“I think it is important that they have a sense of community and a sense of giving back,” DeAna Angiola said. “This is important. We have lost family and friends to cancer so we want to help any way we can to raise money.”
So far this year, Nicholas has raised $1,520 and Grace has raised $125 for their Relay team, “Cookin’ Up a Cure.”
Nicholas thinks it is important to be involved in Relay.
“It’s good to know that you are doing something good for the community,” he said. “It’s a good thing to honor loved ones who have passed away from cancer, like my great-grandfather. He was a very inspirational person who helped me with baseball and school, and helped me get through some tough times.”
Nicholas believes in Relay so much that his goal is to one day chair the event.
“It will be a lot of work, but it will be good to help people,” he said.
Grace also likes how the American Cancer Society helps people.
“They work with people and give them money so they can help other people get healthy through treatments,” she said.
Over the years, Angiola said her family has raised over $50,000 for the American Cancer Society.
“We don’t plan to stop unless cancer stops,” she said. “As I tell the kids, this is not about us, it is about the good that we can do.”
Mary Jo O’Brien is co-chairing this year’s Olney Relay, along with Bryna Selig and Lyz Symborski.
As of May 23, 26 teams, comprised of 164 individuals, have raised $61,568. The goal is $100,000.
This year’s Relay will be a little different from past events.
Although the event began at Sherwood, it has bounced around to several other venues. This year it will return to Sherwood, but will take place in the parking lot by the cafeteria instead of around the track.
In the past, the event has gone from Saturday afternoon until Sunday morning, but because of the location change, it will go from 2 p.m. until midnight.
What hasn’t changed is the enthusiasm and spirit of the participants and the festival-like atmosphere.
There will be live entertainment throughout the event, food trucks, games and activities.
Olney’s Relay for Life was started in 2006 by local resident and Sherwood graduate Susie Iaquinta, who was diagnosed with cancer age 22.
“We want to keep this legacy going and to do what we can do to eradicate this disease,” O’Brien said.
Olney Relay for Life will be held June 10 at the front parking lot of Sherwood high School, 300 Olney-Sandy Spring Road, Sandy Spring. Survivor’s Luncheon will begin at noon, followed by survivor’s lap and caregiver’s lap at 2 p.m., luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. and closing ceremony at midnight. To donate, order a luminaria, or for more information, go to goo.gl/jMpjQx.
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