The 2017 Relay For Life Courage Award was presented to Frank Arsenault Saturday at the 20th annual River Valley Relay for Life Saturday at the Hosmer Field Complex in Rumford. He is pictured, from left, with his wife, Pennie, his sister, Nancy Theriault, and presenter Diane Mitchell.

Judy Broomhall, left, receives the Shirley Comeau Award at at the 20th annual River Valley Relay for Life Saturday at the Hosmer Field Complex in Rumford. Presenting the award was event co-chair Diane Mitchell.

Cancer survivors are seen walking the opening lap of the 20th annual River Valley Relay For Life Saturday in the Hosmer Field Complex in Rumford.

RUMFORD — Thirteen teams took part the 20th annual River Valley Relay For Life Saturday in the Hosmer Field Complex, a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. 

This year’s event theme was “Storybooks.”

More than 50 motorcyclists with the 10th annual Ride For Life rode here from L-A Harley-Davidson in Lewiston as part of this fundraiser, dedicating this year to the memory of Mexico Fire Chief Gary Wentzell, who passed away in January due to lung cancer.

After the motorcycles were parked, everyone lined the track as cancer survivors walked the first lap to open the event.

Following a chicken barbecue for survivors and bikers, event co-chair Diane Mitchell presented two awards.

Judy Broomhall was named the 2017 recipient of the Shirley Comeau Award for the River Valley Relay For Life. She has been with relay for 20 years and began taking part in the event to support her daughter and the Rumford Fire Department team.

Broomhall is a breast cancer survivor and a mentor to other women fighting this battle. She became a committee member and worked with the luminary ceremony for 17 years. Her contributions made the luminary ceremony a truly beautiful part of each Relay through the years, Mitchell said.

“She has not missed a Relay, and is always willing to lend a helping hand,” Mitchell said. “Shirley would be very honored to have Judy as a recipient of this award.”

Frank Arsenault, the recipient of the 2017 Relay For Life Courage Award, was diagnosed two years ago with cancer of the esophagus, stomach and rectum. This news came shortly after losing his mom to her battle with pancreatic cancer.

His journey has been very rough but he has faced each treatment head-on with a positive attitude.

Frank has a very great support team with his family but chooses each and every day to get out and keep his day as normal as possible.

“He can quite often be seen walking through town to meet with his friends in keeping with the normalcy of everyday life,” Mitchell said. “There are very few times that you would meet Frank and not be greeted with a smile or hello.”

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