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Relay for Life of Berkshire County returns to Pittsfield

Peter and Dawn Broggi (Photo contributed)

PITTSFIED — The annual community-based fundraising event for the American Cancer Society is moving its home base from south county to Pittsfield.
After seven years of being held at Monument Mountain Regional High School, Relay for Life of Berkshire County is moving out of Southern Berkshire County and onto the grounds of Pittsfield insurance firm Guardian Life. Event lead, Ray Gardino, broke the news at this year’s Relay kickoff on Tuesday, Jan. 21 at Luau Hale in Lenox.
“We are very excited about this new challenge and move, but please understand, this wasn’t an easy decision,” Gardino told the roughly 50 people in attendance. “We looked for a safe location and I believe that Guardian is the best alternative to Monument Mountain Regional High School.”
The decision was an especially hard one, Gardino said, because even his own household wasn’t on board initially. His 11-year-old granddaughter Madison, who spends two days a week at their Lee home was against it, said Gardino.
Gardino and his family, Terrie, Madison, and his children, Jen and Joe, dedicate 10 out of 12 months of every year raising money for the annual Relay for Life event. Terrie Gardino, matriarch of the family, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in 2006. After successfully combating the cancer and looking for a way to give back, she told her husband, Ray Gardino, that she wanted to be involved in Relay for Life. Since then, the family hasn’t looked back.
Prior to being held at Monument, Relay for Life of Berkshire County was held at Wahconah Regional High School and then Burbank Park in Pittsfield.
Ultimately, the decision came after surveying a number of participants that noted Great Barrington was a haul and the hope to continue to grow larger, said Gardino.
“Monument has been a spectacular host, but we all must embrace the move and do our best to make this Relay, one of our best yet,” he said.
Last year’s event raised a total raised of over $67,000, according to the Berkshire County Relay for Life’s page on the American Cancer Society. The event attracted 32 teams and a total of 150 team members.
Terrie is the one that suggested that Gardino look “outside the box” and through “Relay eyes” at the potential that the parking area of Guardian Life. Though it does not have a track like Monument, it does have a nice streetside proximity that could potentially stir up even more exposure, said Gardino.
“We thank Guardian Life for this opportunity to test the waters in the Pittsfield area again and believe that this is the safest place to grow the Relay in 2020,” he said.
The theme for this year’s event is “Peace, Love and Relay” and will be held on Friday, June 26 and Saturday, June 27.
The Gardinos are always looking for more volunteers and interested teams. For more information about the event or where to register a team, visit relayforlife.org/BerkshireCounty.
To volunteer, either show up the day of or contact Ray at ray.gardino@yahoo.com or call 413-717-2592.

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