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Warwick Relay For Life Packs In Fun, Support at Tollgate High

Warwick, RI – The Warwick Relay for Life draws hundreds of walkers each year in support of people fighting cancer with walkers, ceremony and family fun – and it’s back on Saturday at Tollgate High School.

This year the Warwick Relay has 30 teams and 151 participants, who have collected more than $18,000 to aid cancer treatment research through fundraising and a number of generous sponsors.

Barry Morphis, a two-time cancer survivor, will speak during the Luminaria Ceremony at the Warwick Relay for Life at Tollgate High at 9 p.m.
Barry Morphis, a two-time cancer survivor, will speak during the Luminaria Ceremony at the Warwick Relay for Life at Tollgate High at 9 p.m.

Their goal had been $14,000, said Barry Morphis of East Greenwich, a VP at MetLife and two-time cancer survivor who’ll speak during this year’s luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. at the school.

On Saturday at 12:30 p.m., Relay team members will begin walking the track at Tollgate, making the circuit past creatively decorated camp sites with lawn toys, home-made carnival games, snacks, food and music.

Many teams are named in keeping with the fun. There’s the Purple People Eaters, Led Steppin, The Queen Bees and The Pink Ladies.

Themed laps around the track include a survivor lap and a caregiver lap, showcasing the courage of people fighting cancer and those who help them through it. MetLife’s Snoopy mascot also makes a lap with Morphis.

“It’s a terrific time,” Morphis said.

This is Morphis’ fifth year with the Warwick Relay. Though he’d known about the event through MetLife’s sponsorship, he said he hadn’t appreciated the support and community of the Warwick Relay organizers and participants until he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma in August of 2009.

“It’s like you have a whole team pulling for you,” Morphis said. That’s a much needed morale boost for a person diagnosed with cancer,  who’s understandably feeling alone as cancer-fighting chemotherapy makes their hair fall out and makes them sick all the time, he added.

“But you know they’re out there, fighting for a cure and to help you get through this,” Morphis said.

Morphis said he was glad for that support when he was diagnosed with prostate cancer a year ago. The latest surgery and treatment for the disease, had him up and walking after a one-night stay in the hospital.

“Unbelieveable,” Morphis said.

Now, he said, he’s cancer-free.

Fundraising through Relay for Life events throughout the US aids research to continually improve such treatments.

This year the Warwick Relay for Life runs from 12:30 p.m. till midnight, but Morphis will make a speech during the luminaria ceremony, when lights around the track are dimmed and paper lanterns decorated with the names of people lost to cancer are lit.

Morphis’s speech will focus on the message of Ralph Waldo Emmerson’s famous quote, “We are always getting ready to live, but never living.”

“It’s a very lovely ceremony,” Morphis said.


Rob Borkowski
Author: Rob Borkowski

Rob has worked as reporter and editor for several publications, including The Kent County Daily Times and Coventry Courier, before working for Gatehouse in MA then moving home with Patch Media. Now he's publisher and editor of Contact him at [email protected] with tips, press releases, advertising inquiries, and concerns.

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