To the Editor:

I am writing to you today for several reasons.

On June 15, 2013, I was part of a fun and inspirational event in New Milford.

The event was Relay For Life of New Milford 2013, which brought together a varied group of people to "Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back."

For those of you not familiar with Relay for Life, it is hard to describe the laughter, friendship and overall uplifting quality of this event.

Relay provides something for everyone -- musical entertainment, food, raffles, games for children, teams walking, emotional moments and, most important of all, fighting a disease that effects everyone.

This event also serves to remind people that you can survive; you can thrive and make a difference in the world.

Relay for Life celebrates human beings who have survived a diagnosis of cancer. They don't think of themselves as anything out of the ordinary, but their courage and determination to not let a disease rule their lives is a reminder to all of us we can do it, too.

Our 2013 honorary chairwoman, Elaine Bock, demonstrated these qualities as have all the past honorary chairmen, as well as our "Littlest Angels."

Almost 22 years ago, I received my own diagnosis of cancer. As the years went by, I became involved with Relay for Life. I have walked the laps as a survivor, been on a team that has been involved many years, been on the committee organizing the event and even had the honor of chairing the event.

Because of Relay, I have acquired another family made up of people I have met through Relay, been given back pride in being a survivor, and most importantly made a difference in making sure someday soon people will not have to hear those words.

The 2013 event raised more than $99,000, brought together more than 33 teams, more than 55 survivors and more than 300 registered walkers to "Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back" against cancer.

This would not have been possible without the generous donations of money and goods from people and businesses in New Milford and the surrounding area.

The Relay for Life of New Milford 2014 committee has begun planning this year's event, which will take place May 31, 2014 at Sarah Noble School.

We are in need of people interested in working with the committee, forming teams, businesses and individuals interested in becoming sponsors for the event and anyone interested in helping to make a difference.

If you are or know a cancer survivor, please contact us. We would love to send you an invitation to our survivor events.

Cancer survivors are honored guests at all Relay for Life events.

If anyone is interested in finding out more information, you can contact this year's chairwoman, Kim Schumacher, at 860-354-8282 or email at ksaps@att.net.

You can also sign up to take part at relayforlife.org/newmilfordct.

In closing, I want to express my gratitude and pride in the New Milford community for what we accomplished in 2013, and look forward to even better things in 2014.

Barbara Hallecks

New Milford