Vassar paints town purple for Relay for Life - WNEM TV 5

Vassar paints town purple for Relay for Life

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

Relay for Life season is right around the corner and folks came out on Thursday to show their support for the cause.

"I was diagnosed with bone cancer four years ago. It's been hard," said Sally Hartung, cancer patient.

She remembers the painful day she got the scary news.

"It's hard to hear cancer. That's the big word. When the doctor tells you cancer," Hartung said.

On Thursday she put on her purple shirt and helped paint the town of Vassar purple for Relay for Life. It's the support and love from her community she said gives her hope.

"In a way it's been easy because I have friends, relationships behind me," Hartung said.

One beacon of hope is Sarah Bertoia, a tenth grader at Vassar High School and a cancer survivor. She beat leukemia at the age of 7.

"I remember some bad parts, like one time they had to poke me 16 times because they couldn't find an IV," Sarah said.

Now she attends as many Relay for Life events as she can to inspire others.

"She's very strong. She's here today and that's something to say," said Maria Bertoia, Sarah's sister.

Even with the soggy weather hundreds came out to the event.

"Absolutely mind-blowing. I've been crying all morning seeing the purple everywhere. Mind-blowing for where we thought we could go with it," said Kimberlee Ward, Relay for Life volunteer coordinator.

As for Hartung, her advice for those struggling through the pain of cancer is to find support like her community showed on Thursday.

"The people around you, they help. And just believe that you can make it through it," Hartung said.

Thursday's event is leading up to the Relay for Life event on May 19 at Vassar High School.

TV5 is a proud sponsor of Relay for Life.

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