Mother-daughter duo helps conquer cancer


Neighbors | Emily Gianetti.Libby Urig showed off her hula-hooping skills during a themed lap at the Relay for Life 24-hour walk June 11 and 12..Family and friends of cancer survivors and victims participated in the walk to help raise funds to find a cure for cancer.  


Neighbors | Emily Gianetti.The walkers who participated in the June 11 and 12 Relay for Life 24-hour walk crowded together for a picture during the last leg of the relay.  


Neighbors | Emily Gianetti.Libby Urig (left) and her sister Maddy danced a lap together during the Relay for Life 24-hour walk June 11 and 12 at Austintown Fitch.  


Neighbors | Emily Gianetti.Kim (left) and Libby Urig posed during the last hour of the Relay for Life 24 hour walk at Austintown High School June 11 and 12..Libby said she walked for her grandpa who lost his battle with cancer last October. 


Sorrow can be more than just an emotion. It can inspire people to action. It can be a reason to work, or walk, in this case, toward a better future.

Mother-daughter team Kim and Libby Urig know this firsthand.

After losing loved ones to cancer over the past year, they decided to walk 24 hours straight at the Relay for Life event at Austintown High School June 11-12.

“My grandpa died of cancer last October, so we decided to walk in memory of him and all other family and friends we lost to the disease,” said Libby Urig, a student at Canfield High School.

Spirits were high as the walk started with all cancer survivors walking the first lap.

Libby quickly befriended many kids from schools in the area.

Kim was appointed “Ironman Mom” to the high school walkers.

At 9 p.m., a ceremony began to honor all survivors and those who lost their lives to cancer. In a moment, Kim called “movingly eloquent,” luminaries, or candles, were lit and were placed in the visitors’ bleachers, spelling out the words “Every candle has a name.”

Event organizers read aloud each name, giving a touching element to a terrible disease.

“A 24-hour walk is not for the weak of heart,” said Libby. “But I think anyone with a personal connection to cancer should do it if they are able.”

The 24 hours certainly did not come without struggle. At midnight, the walk was moved inside after storms began.

In the stuffy gym, walkers felt fatigue take its toll, and to keep spirits up, leapfrog and Macarena relays began with gusto. Finally, they were allowed back outside, where local musicians kept them entertained and food vendors were available during the 10-minute breaks walkers got every hour.

Soon, father-daughter team Chris and Maddy Urig showed up to finish out the relay with their family, and everyone ran the last lap together.

“I would definitely do it again. It’s one night a year, it’s a really good cause and it’s not bad at all,” said Libby.

The family raised nearly $700 before the event to be donated to the American Cancer Society. All proceeds made at the Relay for Life go to the society to be put toward research, treatment and transport for patients, among other things.

“They don’t have the choice to train for it, they don’t have the choice to drop out in the middle,” said Kim, “One day of our lives to honor them isn’t that much.”