Elizabeth Blye is not one to take things lying down. So when her mother was diagnosed with cancer and needed a liver transplant, it came as no surprise to those who know her that she rounded up her colleagues from the Ossining School District Teachers' Union and signed up for the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.
After just one year, she was promoted from team captain to the co-chair of the event and has continued to gather more participants with each passing year.
“I was taught to always give to someone else and Relay is about helping other people,” she said.
The first year she participated, Blye said only 12 teams signed up. This June, the goal is to gather 50 teams and raise $100,000.The English and Language Arts teacher at Anne M. Dorner Middle School in Ossining attributes some of the program growth to her connection to the local school district, where she is also assistant director of the school play and the co-editor of the yearbook.
“People either know me as a teacher or a Relay person. Now, the vast majority knows me as both,” she added.
Blye says her involvement in the Ossining Relay for Life has become more than just a volunteer job over the past few years. It’s also become a way for her whole family to rally behind the cause to support her mother. Her brother was even one of the top donators last year when her mother served as guest speaker.
She said one of the greatest rewards of working at the event is seeing the relationships built between survivors and caregivers, who are often strangers before they meet at Relay.
“You see two people holding hands because they have found a common bond. It’s amazing to watch.”
Local businesses including Club Fit in Yorktown, Tuscan Grille in Briarcliff and Ossining Communities that Care are a few of the longtime sponsors of the event.