Relaying A Message
West Bloomfield's annual fundraiser,
Relay For Life, set for June 8-9.
"Independence is very
important to me. I love spending
time with my children instead
of needing their help."
Matthew and Samantha Katz of West Bloomfield (holding the Torah), Dayna
Katz, Maghan Rosender and Lindsey Katz, all of West Bloomfield.
I JN Contributing Writer
ichelle Silber, 47, of
Commerce Township is a
woman on a mission — to
fight cancer and help save lives —
one determined step at a time.
Silber is chairing this year's Relay
For Life June 8-9 at West Bloomfield
High School on Orchard Lake Road.
For 24 hours, participants from 41
teams or individuals who come out
to support the event will be in con-
stant motion, taking turns running
or walking around the track to raise
money for the American Cancer
"Carnival For a Cure" is the theme;
participants can expect a fun, fes-
tive atmosphere with games, food,
clowns, magicians and a big tent
with live entertainment throughout
the day and night.
"It's a celebration of life, it's very
much a party atmosphere," Silber
explained. "We're expecting more
than 2,000 people. We camp out
overnight. Cancer doesn't sleep, so
neither do we."
The annual relay, now in its 15th
year, has raised more than $3 mil-
lion. It's one of the top-three mon-
eymakers in Michigan and one of
the top relays in the country. Similar
events are held in more than 5,200
communities and 20 countries.
The West Bloomfield relay also
has a great deal of personal meaning
for Silber. Her late mother, Esther
Olson, participated for many years
while she battled breast, thyroid and
uterine cancers. She passed away
in December 2011 at age 69. Two
of Silber's young cousins, both in
their 40s, underwent breast cancer
treatment at the same time, and her
husband, Brad Silber, is a two-time
testicular cancer survivor.
"Michelle focused her anger and
sadness on fighting for a cure so oth-
ers would not have to go through the
tremendous pain and loss she's had
to endure," Brad said. "She brought
the community together to fight
alongside her. They see the fire in
her eyes and the determination in
her heart to dry the tears of those
touched by cancer and to bring forth
new hope in those who feel beaten
by this terrible disease.
"I'm so proud of what she's doing
and moved by her strength and lead-
The West Bloomfield relay has its
roots in the Jewish community.
It was started in memory of Alex
Graham of West Bloomfield, an
inspiring 17-year-old who died in
January 1999 from childhood bone
cancer. Countless people have seen
the televised public service announce-
ment Alex made as her wish through
the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She
wanted to make a difference by telling
people to give children with cancer a
smile instead of staring because they
"In her 17 years, she made a tre-
mendous impact on people," said her
mom, Susie Graham.
Every year, Graham's team, ALI-
GATORS, is represented on the
track. An award in Alex's name also
will be presented to someone who
—Fox Run resident Beverly Schwartz
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Message on page 22
May 30 • 2013