You've probably heard about a Relay For Life. There are several throughout WNY. It is an organized, overnight fundraising walk. Teams camp out and team members take turns walking the track.
It raises money for the American Cancer society. It's at an organizational meeting for the Relay where we meet Justin Czaja. He's performing an important role this year. That's older brother and eagle scout Ryan Czaja. The boys started with the Relay in 2004, when Justin was 5. The boys' mom was diagnosed with cervical cancer 11 years ago, but is now cancer free.
Throughout the years there's one part of the Relay for Life young Justin always loved the most.
"My favorite part of the event is the Luminaria ceremony because it's so emotional"
aAfter dark, the track is lined with candles. The candles are placed in bags filled with sand. The bags have tributes to family members diagnosed with cancer.
Some still with us. Some not. 3 years ago, Justin at age 10 joined the Luminaria committee.
"the first year I was just helping out anywhere's. And the next year, my mom was the Luminary chair and I decided to help her and this year I'm the luminary chair "
All of the Relays For Life have different chairpeople for different aspects of the event. Publicity, Activities, etc. When the Luminaria chair was vacated. Justin told his mom he wants to do it
Donna Czaja: "and I'm like well I'm not sure if you can do it and they were like yeah he can do it. And he's doing it."
Kevin:" Not a token role."
Donna:"No it's not. it's a lot of work.
Kevin :"How's he doing?"
Donna: "He 's doing very well"
Last week, Justin turned 14, but the 8th grader is still the youngest relay chairperson in WNY. The Lockport Relay For Life starts June 15th.
Congratulations and good luck to Justin, the Czaja family, and all Relay For Life participants in WNY
Here is the website for the Lockport Relay!