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Big hearts add up to big bucks for cancer research

Brooklyn Daily

John and Jane Q. Public mixed business with a good deed on Saturday by agreeing to support a cancer-fighting benefit organized by their local tax preparation office.

Clients at the Liberty Tax Service office near Utica and Snyder avenues were invited to pledge funds — or better still, put their best foot forward — for a summer Relay for Life run at the Aviator Sports and Events Center to benefit the American Cancer Society.

The call to arms was issued on Jan. 21 to make a “meaningful difference” in the fight against the potentially killer disease, said employee and race coordinator Karen Esposito, who decorated the Flatbush office with lilac balloons — the color of cancer awareness — and handed out slices of lilac-iced cake to drum up followers.

“Almost everyone has been touched by cancer, either through their own personal battle or through someone they love,” she said.

Supporters also made a spectacle of themselves to promote the cause, with Luciana Cook of Sunset Park pounding the pavement gussied up as Lady Liberty to recruit big-hearted pedestrians.

The Relay for Life is one the cancer group’s signature fundraisers, mobilizing good Samaritans from all walks of life across the nation to celebrate survivors, remember the deceased, and raise money for research, programs, and one day a cure. Races typically begin with a lap run by survivors, and conclude with an after-dark luminaria ceremony, featuring a silent stroll to commemorate victims.

Liberty Tax Service aids charities throughout the year, including Cell Phones for Soldiers, March of Dimes, and the American Red Cross. Relay for Life — established in 1985 by Washington colorectal surgeon Dr. Gordy Klatt — is one more way to show solidarity with the less fortunate, according to Liberty’s top official.

“It’s a unique event and a great opportunity to contribute to the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives, by helping people get and stay well, by finding cures and fighting back,” said Chief Executive Officer John Hewitt.

Cancer is second only to heart disease as the leading cause of death in New York where 100,000 new cases are diagnosed each year, reports the state Department of Health.

Relay for Life at Aviator Sports and Events Center [3159 Flatbush Avenue in Floyd Bennett Field, (718) 758-7580], June 2 at 1 pm; www.relayforlife.org/relay.

Reach reporter Shavana Abruzzo at sabruzzo@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2529.

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