By KATHARINE FRIEDMAN
The date May 20 may seem far away, but for residents in Matawan the date cannot come soon enough. Matawan’s annual Relay for Life event — an all-night walk at Matawan Regional High School (MRHS) — will take place that day to benefit the American Cancer Society.
Teams from schools in Matawan, including Lloyd Road, Strathmore, Matawan Aberdeen Middle School (MAMS) and MRHS, as well as families affected by cancer, individual participants, volunteers, cancer survivors and caregivers look forward to the event each year, however, there is much work to be done beforehand.
Teams must raise money to be donated to the American Cancer Society. Finding creative ways to make people donate has been difficult for some teams. Eric Friedman and Chris Zettell, two of Relay’s most prominent volunteers, wanted to help Matawan schools raise enough money for their teams and came up with a grand idea: McTeacher’s Night — teachers from each school serving their students McDonald’s food with 15 percent of each order going to their individual team.
They contacted Alana Marinello, the owner of Aberdeen McDonald’s, asking if they could have Relay fundraising events in the Aberdeen McDonald’s before it goes under renovation in February. Marinello did not know much about Relay for Life prior to Friedman and Zettell’s call, but after doing research on the event and learning how much it meant to the community she happily agreed.
“I love that the whole town of Aberdeen gets involved; I think it’s fantastic,” said Marinello.
All three decided to make McTeacher’s Night a three-night event at the Aberdeen McDonalds on Route 34; benefiting all the schools and raising money for a great cause.
Lloyd Road’s McTeacher’s Night took place Jan. 11 with tremendous success for their Relay team “Lloyd Road Student Council.”
Tracy Zwirko, a fifth grade student council advisor, and Bonnie Weinstein, a fourth grade student council advisor, were extremely pleased about how successful McTeacher’s Night was.
“I think it’s great to have the students be able to come out and socialize outside of school. The teachers are super excited, our assistant principal [worked] the drive-through. It’s a fun night for everybody,” said Weinstein.
Strathmore School will have their McTeacher’s Night Jan. 23 from 5-8 p.m. while MAMS and MRHS will combine their night on Jan. 25 from 5-8 p.m.
“Everyone in the school district has been touched by cancer in some way or another,” said Zwirko. “It’s very close to their hearts.”
For more information on Relay for Life, check out their Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages or relayforlife.org.