By Jerry Del Priore
On Saturday, July 21st, the Brooklyn Cyclones will be hosting Relay for Life Night at the MCU Park, celebrating and honoring people in Brooklyn communities and beyond that have been affected cancer.
The Relay for Life Night event, run in conjunction with local volunteers, is now in its ninth year.
With the support of the Cyclones – the New York Mets short-season Single-A affiliate of the New York Penn League (NYPL) – the event has raised thousands of dollars to help fund groundbreaking research spearheaded by the American Cancer Society as well as the crucial services ACS provides to local communities.
The night features an inspirational First Pitch ceremony, during which cancer survivors and caregivers have an opportunity to throw out a first pitch to members of the Cyclones.
“Each year, the highlight of Relay for Life Night at the Ballpark, for me, is the Survivor/Caregiver First Pitch Ceremony,” event organizer Joe Gillette said. “Growing up a baseball fan, I always remembered the importance of that person who threw out the first pitch before the game. Now, as a volunteer for the cancer society, that first pitch has a whole new meaning, and the importance of those pitchers is even more pronounced.”
RLN also features a post-game luminaria observance. The ceremony takes place at home plate and allows participants in attendance to enter the field and help light up the display, which is dedicated throughout the game with heartfelt sentiments from fans affected by and supporting the much-needed battle against cancer.
“These cancer survivors and caregivers are our family, our friends and our neighbors,” Gillette exclaimed. “They are our community. Each of them represents hope, faith and courage and for that magical 10 minutes, they are the true heroes of the baseball diamond.”
There will also be representatives from the American Cancer Society on hand to share cancer awareness information to Cyclone fans. To help raise additional funds for the fight against cancer, the Cyclones will be raffling off commemorative RELAY FOR LIFE jerseys after the game and will be supporting a 50/50 Raffle as well.
The festivities take place under the glorious glow of the legendary Coney Island Parachute Jump, which will be lit up in Purple — the official color of Relay for Life.
RLN is a national team fundraising event in which squad members take turns walking around a track or designated path, according to its website. Each event is six-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a participant on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.
For tickets and/or to participate in the First Pitch Ceremony at MCU park, contact event organizer Joe Gillette at 646-89-3568. To find an event near you, log onto its website.