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The Relay for Life in Boardman kicked off Friday.
This is the 100th year for the event nationwide and the 20th anniversary for the relay in Boardman.
The stands filled up at Boardman Center Middle School early Friday evening as participants and spectators prepare for the luminary walk.
Each light represents someone who is battling cancer, survivors, or those that have lost their lives to the disease.
This year is especially important for participant Melissa Magan. Magan lost her father, William, to cancer last year. She said the relay has been a family tradition, and she is keeping with her father’s wishes to continue the support.
“It’s extremely important to me because cancer does not have an ending and there has to be a cure, no matter if I’ve lost a loved one like my father passed away or all these other luminaries for people who are honoring lost loved ones,” said Magan. “We have to keep going until there is a cure.
Stephanie Weigel is one of hundreds who are walking to bring awareness to cancer. She knows better than most why that awareness and research is so important. Nine years ago she was diagnosed with cervical cancer at just 22 years old and benefited from some state of the art medical interventions.
“It was able to preserve my fertility. They were able to take only small pieces of tissue as opposed to large pieces of tissue that may have taken away my fertility, so I was very fortunate,” said Weigel.
As a tribute to her father Magan shaved her head at the relay.
“The people you see walking around with the survivor shirts and those who are living with it day-to-day, they’re the heroes. I’m just doing something to show that I care,” said Magan.