Diane Dunton Bruni named honorary chair for Relay

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AUBURN — The American Cancer Society has selected Diane Dunton Bruni to serve as honorary chair for this year’s Relay For Life of Androscoggin County.

In 1996, Bruni participated in her first Relay for Life, eight months after her mother, Lila, passed away after being diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. She continued to participate every year even when her husband, Bob, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2002. He passed away the same year. Bruni is one of three (out of six) siblings who have had cancer. Her sister, Becky Clough, chaired Relay of Androscoggin in 2003, and passed away later in that same year after living with breast cancer for seven years.

Bruni attributes her ability to cope with her husband’s cancer and final days to her sister, a hospice nurse, who unselfishly helped her care for him. Unknowingly, Clough was teaching Bruni how to care for her during Clough’s last weeks of life a year later.

After Clough passed away, another sister was diagnosed with cancer and then Bruni was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2007. She did not waste time questioning, “Why me?” but moved to action and faced the disease head on.

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Bruni looks forward to Relay every year, but is never quite sure what the impact emotionally will be.

“In years past the faces of survivors and caregivers reminded me that cancer affects so many – those faces tell a story of triumph,” she said.

“Funds raised by our Relay For Life event are making an impact on so many lives,” said Bruni. “From making possible the vital American Cancer Society programs and services that support those in our community facing a diagnosis, to life-changing cancer research and medical discovery, to advocating for access to quality health care for everyone affected by cancer, the money raised through Relay For Life of Androscoggin County is helping further the vision of a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”

Others serving on the Relay For Life committee include: Jennifer Gendron, Leo Levesque, Janet Miles, Jennifer Berry, Jeannine Levesque, Belinda Samson, Rebecca Branagan, Dawn Gordon, Mark Fortier, Sue Stimpson, Diane Braley and Keith Pray.

The Relay For Life of Androscoggin County will take place on Friday and Saturday, June 11 and 12, at the Edward Little High School track. To participate, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.RelayForLife.org/androscogginme.

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