Archive for the tag 'relay for life'


Joe Gilette, organizer of the Bergen Beachh, Mill Basin and Marine Park chapter of Relay for Life, sent us a note and some photos of this year’s event, in which they raised approximately $100,000 for the American Cancer Society during their June 7 event.

Gilette writes:

We recently held our 3rd annual Relay for Life on June 7th. I am proud to say we expect our final tally this [year is] to total $100,000!! We owe a great deal of success to our FIGHT BACK WITH FITNESS program in which we brought volunteer fitness instructors into over 24 schools to hold fitness classes. This was all in furtherance of our agenda of spreading cancer awareness and prevention through the positive message of fitness and a healthy lifestyle.


By comparison, the 2012 Relay for Life event brought in $50,000.


Featuring live entertainment, food, raffles, and a variety of interactive and fun activities for the whole family, community members form teams and walk around Aviator Sports Center’s outdoor track for eight continuous hours, symbolically conveying their message that, until there is a cure, the fight against cancer never ends. It’s highlighted by the Luminaria Ceremony, in which paper bags decorated by neighborhood children are illuminated in memory of loved ones who have passed away from cancer.


The whopping $100,000 total is in addition to the $20,000 the group raised by putting together Brooklyn SINGS!, an inter-school SING! competition that pitted Murrow, Midwood and Madison high school students against each other for a good cause and bragging rights. The events Gilette organizes just keeps getting more diverse. Last year he also helped put together the world’s largest indoor zumba class, with more than 400 people participating.

Keep up the good work for a good cause!

To learn more about the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park Relay for Life, contact Nancy Colt of the American Cancer Society at (718) 622-2492 extension 5134 or visit their website.


Participants took the stage as the winners were announced. (Photo by Yuval Kagan)

Participants took the stage as the winners were announced. (Photo by Yuval Kagan)

Remember that awesome SING! competition we told you about last month? Brooklyn Sings!, an inter-SING event in which students from Midwood, Madison and Murrow high schools competed against each other for best student-created stage production, took place this past Saturday and students raised more than $20,000 to donate to the American Cancer Society.

According to organizers, the event made history as the largest one-night fundraiser for the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team, with that boatload of money raised through ticket sales, raffles and direct donations.

Edward R. Murrow High School’s team won the event, with a show that brought seniors and freshman together to defeat an evil villain in “MurrowWarts.” Madison entertained with a trip to Toyland, and Midwood took the audience 10 years forward for a terrifying reunion. Every bit of the production was student-created.

A huge hurrah for the students at these three schools. They all worked hard, and for a great cause.

Photo by Erica Sherman

Three major Southern Brooklyn high schools are banding together to hold the first-ever inter-SING! competition, called Brooklyn Sings!, to benefit the American Cancer Society.

As any Brooklyn public high school graduate knows, SING! competitions can dominate school culture, bringing in students at every level to plan and produce a musical-production based on a different theme each year. The grades compete against each other for bragging rights.

What many may not know is that SING!, now a phenomenon at high schools across the greater New York City area, is a distinctly Southern Brooklyn creation, first established at Midwood High School in 1947 by music teacher Bella Tillis. The 1989 film Sing is based on the Brooklyn traditions, and SING! alumni include Barbra Streisand, Paul Simon, Tim Robbins, Paul Reiser and Neil Diamond.

Midwood, Madison and Murrow are all well-known for their grandiose productions that can involve hundreds of students.

Brooklyn Sings!, the inter-school event, is being created to benefit the American Cancer Society. It was conceived by the Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park Relay for Life team and one of its organizers, Joe Gillette.

“Our Relay for Life team is so thankful to each of these amazing schools for taking on BROOKLYN SINGS!  We know this event will be great for all the talented students, the schools and the community as a whole as we all unite and give of ourselves for a worthy cause,” Gillete said in a press release. “We encourage anyone who wants to get involved with our Relay for Life organization to join us as we strive to make a difference in our schools and community.”

“SING began in Midwood in 1947.  Mrs. Belle Tillis (who passed away last year 15 days shy of her 100th birthday) is credited with bringing SING to Midwood,” said Midwood Principal Michael McDonnell. “For the last 60 + years, our student body has sung, danced and acted their way towards winning the annual SING competition.  In fact the organizers of all the schools’ SINGs were Midwood students who had participated in Midwood SING.  So it is with great honor and responsibility that along with the help of Relay for Life, we get to “throw down the gauntlet” to our neighboring schools.”

Anyone interested in supporting one of the school’s fundraising efforts for the ACS can make a tax deductible donation by visiting the team page of their favorite school.

For Midwood visit;
For Madison visit
For Murrow visit

The event will be held March 8 at 6 p.m. at Edward R. Murrow High School (1600 Avenue L). Tickets will be sold through each school, and go one sale February 24.

More than 400 participants shook, danced and jumped away the calories during the Relay For Life of Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park’s largest indoor Zumba class ever, hosted at the Aviator Sports Complex, according to Record Setter.

Organized by “Zumba Daddy,” Joseph Gillette, co-chairman of Brooklyn’s annual Relay For Life of Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park, the event, which drew 419 participants, was held to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.

Zumba, a Colombian fitness program involving dance and aerobic elements, incorporates hip-hop, soca, samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, martial arts, and some Bollywood and belly dance moves.

The video featured above gives you a look at the scope of the event and the joy of the zumba participants, all working out for a good cause.

“They’re here for zumba, but more importantly, the American Cancer Society,” said Gillette. “Its a successful day, a tremendous day. I couldn’t be happier.”

For more information on the Relay For Life and zumba, you can visit them on Facebook.

Area residents, their lives touched by cancer, came together to celebrate those who have battled the disease, remember those who lost their lives to it, and pledge to continue fighting to find a cure, during Aviator Sports’ inaugural Bergen Beach, Mill Basin & Marine Park Relay for Life.

Featuring live entertainment, food, raffles, and a variety of interactive and fun activities for the whole family, community members formed teams and walked around Aviator’s outdoor track for eight continuous hours, symbolically conveying their message that, until there is a cure, the fight against cancer never ends.

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Relay For Life "Luminaria" bags.

Live entertainment, food, raffles, and a variety of interactive and fun activities for the whole family will be on tap as the Aviator Sports Complex on Flatbush Avenue hosts its very first Relay for Life for Bergen Beach, Mill Basin and Marine Park, June 2 from 2:00 to 10:00 p.m. Admission is free.

Live music will include performances by Donnie Klang of MTV’s Making the Band and teen singer Tayla Cornelia, both backed by the DJ Swivet, as well as the troupe from Acting Out and Edward R. Murrow High School’s dance troupe led by Roberta Raymond.

Face painting, caricatures, tennis demonstrations, video game setups sponsored by Best Buy, and more, will be ongoing throughout the day. Additionally, Ms. New York America Helen Troncoso, a noted women’s health advocate, will be a guest speaker during the Relay’s opening ceremonies. She will also be available for meet and greet photo opportunities.

As the lights go out when the sun goes down, the outdoor track at Aviator will be lined with hundreds of Luminaria Bags created by neighborhood children, donors and volunteers to honor those who are fighting cancer now, those who have survived cancer, and loved ones who have lost their lives to cancer. The bags will be illuminated by candles, and all in attendance will participate in a solemn walk around the track to view the bags. The walk will be led by the nationally-acclaimed FDNY Emerald Society Pipes & Drum Band.

To learn more and get involved, contact Joe Gillette at

“Pretty in Purple,” the Relay for Life team that Jessica Rosen — one of our friends (and supporters) from Big Apple Sewer — belongs to just kicked off a new fundraiser that they are dubbing, “Cell Phones for a Cure.”

The concept is simple. According to Rosen, “We are collecting old cell phones then donating them and getting cash in exchange.” The cash collected from the cell phones and batteries will go toward “Pretty in Purple,” which has thus far raised $1,338.92 in support of cancer research.

“Pretty in Purple” will be participating in the “2012 Relay For Life of Bay Ridge, Bensonhurst & Dyker Heights” from 2:00 to 11:00 p.m., June 23 at Fort Hamilton Athletic Field, bounded by 83rd Street to 85th Street, Narrows Avenue and Colonial Road in Bay Ridge.

The event begins at 12:00 p.m., but the opening ceremony is at 2:00 p.m. “Pretty in Purple” will camp out overnight and take turns walking around the track to raise money and awareness to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.

To learn more about Relay for Life, “Pretty in Purple,” and to contribute, go to their team page by clicking here or call (718) 360-9200.