My Family’s History of Giving Back through Relay for Life

by Kimberly Van Winkle, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Operations

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life® was founded in 1985, and the Arlington, Mass. chapter began in 2000. Since then, it has become a huge part of the local community, which is where my partner Scott grew up, and where we are raising our two daughters. Not only is it an event where local families and businesses come together to raise funds for cancer research, but it also provides a sense of community and friendship during difficult times.

Since 2002, four generations of our family have participated in Arlington’s Relay for Life. Scott’s grandmother, Doris, was a cancer survivor and an inspiring matriarch; she was proud to be able to take part in the Survivors Lap and dinner until she was in her mid-90’s. Scott’s mother Marilyn and sister Robin remain actively involved with the committee that organizes the Relay for Life of Arlington.  Over the last 13 years, our niece Courtney, who originally got our family involved back in 2002 when she was just 11 years old, has done everything from singing the national anthem to co-chairing the event. She is currently under treatment for liver cancer, and taking part in Relay for Life is an important part of our family’s history, now more than ever.
Scott and I participate yearly with our two daughters, who, like Courtney, are the fourth generation of our family to be involved in Relay for Life. In addition to contributing to a worthy cause, taking part in this event provides a sense of community and teaches our children that it’s important to give back. Funds are raised in many ways for Relay for Life of Arlington, including online donation, yard sales, bake sales, donations of a portion of a particular day’s sales from local businesses, and an offshoot event for canines and their owners called Bark for Life Arlington — it is truly a community effort! My family and I feel honored to be part of such a worthy cause and lucky to live in Arlington, a place where giving back is a way of life.

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