Rain moved Montville Relay For Life and its hundreds of participants indoors for the first time, but it didn't dampen the experience for Joan Richmond, a Towaco resident who is battling stage four breast cancer and spoke at the event.
Richmond heard the American Cancer Society fundraiser is better when it's held outside.
"For me, it couldn't have been any different," Richmond said Thursday, calling the event in the Montville Township High School gym last Friday "one of the Top 10 days of my life."
That's not to say nice weather wouldn't be nice next time.
"I hope to have it outside next year, and I'm going to be there," said Richmond, who was diagnosed with cancer in December and is receiving chemotherapy.
Montville's fifth annual Relay For Life drew about 400 people to the high school at peak times and raised around $60,000, despite the rain and last-minute venue change from Camp Dawson, event co-chair Terry Becker said. Thirty-four teams signed up for the event. It brought the total amount raised over the years to more than $600,000.
Becker said Richmond was a "phenomenal speaker," is full of hope, and was a tremendous committee member while undergoing treatments. The community support for Relay For Life was terrific, she said.
Cancer touches everyone at some point and "people have to continue to push for the cure," she said.
Richmond said there are no words to describe how hard Becker and co-chair Mary Osborne-Marrero worked on the event. And the love and support from community members has blown her mind, she said.
One of the teams at the event—Joansing for a Cure—was named for Richmond and supported by the Towaco Civic Association.
Richmond said she has received care and support from the American Cancer Society while fighting the disease, and the organization's support of research is the most important thing it does.
Anyone interested in getting involved can call Becker at 973-632-9681.