CANTON — People from across the St. Lawrence County gathered Sunday at St. Lawrence University’s Appleton Arena wearing shirts and sweatshirts in memory of their loved ones who have lost a battle with cancer.
The third annual Healthy Living Festival, which partners with the Edward I. Moses Walk/Run for Life, showcased free health screenings and health tips from 25 different vendors, from hospitals and health care providers to therapists, iridologists and bounce houses for children.
“It’s a nice addition for the participants because it gives them something else to do,” said Kellie J. Hitchman, president of the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund. “Also, there are a lot of programs that kind of go along with our theme of cancer prevention and overall health and wellness.”
The Edward I Moses Walk/Run, which began at the Ferguson Trail on campus, is the primary fundraiser for the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund.
Community Broadcasters LLC started the Healthy Living Festival, in conjunction with the walk.
“It’s all about being healthy and it brings more awareness to the St. Lawrence County Cancer Fund and the walk,” said Michael R. Guimond, Ogdensburg station manager for Community Broadcasters LLC.
Mr. Guimond said he’s been involved with the walk for more than 15 years and wanted to see a health fair accompany it.
“I lost a couple family members to cancer so I felt really strongly about it,” he said.
Many teams walking in memory of deceased loved ones attended the health fair before the walk started.
Jill M. Mouthorp, Canton, attended with several family members and friends of her late nephew, Eric A. Murdie.
“Eric passed away in 2008 from a brain tumor, so we walk in his memory,” she said. “He was 27 years old.”
Ms. Mouthorp said the group has been walking in the fundraiser as “Team Eric” for six years.
“You need the family support and the friends,” she said. “Eric got a lot of support from family and friends and we’re just kind of passing it along.”
Bold red lettering and a red barn on navy blue shirts showed the Zeller family also had been though a battle with cancer.
Walter O. Zeller Jr., Redwood, died of colon cancer in 2009. He was 47 years old.
“He was a farmer and he was good at it,” said his father, Walter O. Zeller Sr.
Jane M. Zeller, his widow, said the family formed a team for him and has been walking in the event ever since his death.
“It’s very important,” she said. “All this money stays local and goes to help other families in need. And it just gets the awareness out there of what other families are dealing with.”