Relay For Life Offers Hope, Opportunity and Fun for All

Photo | Submitted Luminarias, each specially decorated in honor of loved ones who have fought cancer, light up the night at the Relay for Life Urbana in 2014. This month, Relay for Life Urbana is held May 29.

Photo | Submitted
Luminarias, each specially decorated in honor of loved ones who have fought cancer, light up the night at the Relay for Life Urbana in 2014. This month, Relay for Life Urbana is held May 29.


In 2004, Victor Montalvo-Lugo was a clinical trial manager for a possible new drug to treat colon cancer. The Urbana Highlands resident worked for different medical companies in New Jersey then California for the trials of hopeful new medicine. In a strange coincidence, Montalvo-Lugo realized that same year that he was experiencing many of the same symptoms the trial patients had. Montalvo-Lugo was tested at the UCLA Medical Center and his diagnosis of colon cancer was confirmed in December. In January 2005, he had surgery and treatment.

“This early detection has contributed to a cancer-free life for the past 10 years,” said his wife, Janette Montalvo. “Due to the early diagnosis no chemotherapy was needed. Victor’s opinion is that to defeat cancer, we need to be aware of symptoms, family history and to listen to your body and get more than one opinion if diagnosed.”

To celebrate his tenth year of being a survivor of cancer, The Montalvo’s will celebrate as they have for the last several years — by participating in The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Urbana. An all-night, fun-filled event and one of many throughout the country, the Urbana Relay will be on Friday, May 29 at Monocacy Valley Church at 9861 Old National Pike in Ijamsville.

The opening ceremonies begin at 7 p.m., where Urbana resident Mark Papier will talk about his family’s experiences with their son Dillon’s Niemann-Pick Type C disease, a fatal cholesterol metabolism disorder with which he was diagnosed with a decade ago. Papier also plans to talk about Dillon’s liver cancer, which they learned about earlier this year. At Relay for Life Urbana, there are special events, including special laps where survivors, caregivers and other team members take turns walking around the track. The Luminaria Ceremony honors people lost to cancer and support those in the fight by lighting many luminarias, decorated and personalized around the track. While some walk, other team members camp out around the track and enjoy family-friendly games and activities for the entire community. The public is welcome at the Relay for Life.

To join the event, donate or get information about the Relay for Life Urbana, visit the Urbana pages at www.bit.ly/1bqGCXc or www.relayforlife.org and navigate to the Urbana pages. According to Laurie Frey, community manager for Relay for Life, there are currently more than 25 teams, with 135 participants who have raised more than $20K. These dedicated participants hope the amount will rise dramatically by May 29.

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