Relay for Life of Marlborough/Hudson returns in person


Teams fundraise for the American Cancer Society

Relay for Life of Marlborough/Hudson begins with cancer survivors and caregivers walking a lap around Ward Park.
Relay for Life of Marlborough/Hudson begins with cancer survivors and caregivers walking a lap around Ward Park.
(Photo/Ed Karvoski Jr.)

By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer

MARLBOROUGH/HUDSON – The annual Relay for Life of Marlborough/Hudson returned Sept. 25 as an in-person fundraiser for the American Cancer Society (ACS) at Marlborough’s Ward Park. It was held virtually last year due to pandemic restrictions.

Speakers addressed the fundraising teams during an opening ceremony.

Pastor Joe Graumann of St. Stephen Lutheran Church discussed the inspirational life of Sandra Rennie Austin, who died of cancer this year. Additionally, Samantha Dalbec, age 12 and an active gymnast, spoke about her own experience of becoming a cancer survivor.

The Marlborough/Hudson relay co-chairs are Bob Kays and Marcia Place.

Kays first got involved with the fundraiser by providing meals for survivors at the relay for two years beginning in 2007. His sister lost her battle with cancer in 2008. She had organized a relay in California during her final 20 years.

Since 2009, Kays has chaired the Marlborough/Hudson relay.

“Cancer is a devastating disease and I want to carry the torch for my sister,” he shared. “You want to work a little harder to help when it gets that close to you. Practically every family is affected by cancer.”

As for Place, a cancer survivor, she started volunteering with the Marlborough/Hudson relay in 2012 and as co-chair for three years. She lost her mother and other relatives to cancer.

“ACS is an extremely worthwhile cause,” Place said. “They provide far more support services than most people know about. We encourage everybody to donate and learn more about ACS.” 

The local relay was traditionally a 12-hour event, originally overnight. Whereas, this year’s six-hour relay took place from noon to 6 p.m.

“Now that we can do an in-person event again, we wanted to make it as safe and comfortable as possible for people,” Place explained.

Relay committee member Deb Roberts noted, “People are still trying to figure out what their comfort level is.”

Roberts estimated this year’s event drew about 200 attendees including fundraising teammates, their supporters and volunteers.

Live musical entertainment was provided by the Marlborough-based bands Color Killer and Flashback. Mary Dragon of Northborough led a line-dancing session. DJ Steve Woodard played music throughout the event.

Fundraising continued with raffles.

“Our goal was $15,000 and as of today with monies still coming in we are over $21,000,” Place added. 

Donate and learn more about the local relay at and




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