, Derry, New Hampshire

April 4, 2012

Young people a big part of local Relay for Life

A Relay For Life event takes place every June at Pinkerton Academy.

The Relay For Life of Greater Derry and Londonderry has been doing this successfully for more than 15 years. Thousands have pledged their time, money and emotions to this worthy cause. And just like cancer knows no age, neither do the participants, who dedicate themselves to stopping cancer in its tracks.

That includes Hannah Brownstein, who began participating in Relay in 2007 when she was in fifth grade. Invited by a member of her church, Hannah decided to join in the fight.

"I listened to many stories of cancer victims and survivors and was overwhelmed by how many people's lives have been touched by cancer," she said. "I had a lot of fun at the Relay, but left the next morning moved by what I had experienced."

Since her first Relay For Life, Hannah has only missed one event and now, a sophomore at Londonderry High School, she is co-captain of her own school team, along with classmate Sami Tocman.

"I started because I want to get my grade involved in this event," Sami said.

With 55 registered team members and more than $4,300 raised last year, it seems like these girls know how to achieve a goal.

Other students are getting involved with Relay For Life apart from the school teams.

Maggi McGarry, who also attends Londonderry High School, is part of a team made up of her own family members and friends.

"Cancer is woven deep into my family and we just want to give back and help prevent it in any way we can," Maggi said.

With colon cancer affecting two of her uncles, one whom recently lost his battle, Relay For Life is a way for Maggi to do exactly that, and to feel less helpless against this disease.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is not just an event; it's an experience that can be life changing.

"I love the feeling that I get at the Relay that tells me I've done a good thing and that I've made a difference in someone's life, that my efforts may allow some little girl the chance to meet her grandfather, something that cancer denied me," Hannah said.

She, Sami and Maggi certainly understand that it only takes one person to impact the lives of millions. And that person just may have chemistry first period every Monday.

Join Hannah, Sami, and Maggi at this year's event on June 22 at Pinkerton Academy track. For more information about the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Greater Derry and Londonderry, visit or call 471-4113.

• • •

Join the discussion. To comment on stories and see what others are saying, log on to