The American Cancer Society awareness event "Relay For Life" is held in over 5000 communities around the country-usually high schools and colleges.
Thanks to several local businesses and the efforts of local massage therapist Michelle Dillon and co-chair Jeff Miller, Rye will be added to that tally for the first time.
Friday's event starts at 4 p.m. in Rye Town Park and continues overnight with a Survivors' Reception, face painting, an outdoor movie, live music, overnight games and a magician.
"We are privileged to be able to have it overlooking the Sound at Rye Town Park," said Dillon who was motivated to pull off the event in record time.
"I got involved when Megan McGrady from the American Cancer Society came to the Rye Chamber of Commerce meeting, I believe in February," she recalled.
"We have food coming from , , , , and . is donating coffee," said Dillon. Other businesses such as PQ, Home Depot, and also answered the call. "So many people have been so helpful," Dillon said. "I know there are many more."
It turns out Dillon is highly motivated and deeply involved in the cause. A licensed massage therapist, she is trained in Oncology Hospital Massage and Mastectomy Massage. "[The video] "Phluff the Girls" on Youtube is a MUST WATCH for all women," she recommended emphatically.
"I found that I had many clients walking through my door with a history of cancer and decided it was important to find out as much as possible in order to provide the best service. I have learned scar tissue treatments and will work directly on mastectomy scars helping to increase range of motion and reduce pain in the surrounding areas, massage for chemotherapy induced neuropathy which has been helpful to help bring the feeling back in the hands and feet of some clients," said Dillon.
But it's also personal and deeply rooted in her family history. "I have also had 2 previous oncology scares and as of today working on scare [number] 3," Dillion shared. "I have never had cancer but lots of doctors keep thinking I might..."
"Relay for Life" got its start in 1985 when oncology surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt, of Tacoma, Washington, used his passion for marathons to raise money for the American Cancer Society.