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Hero of Research Award winners "meet" grantee they are supporting

The grant is named for a teenager in their community fighting cancer

The Hero of Research Award offers Relay For Life teams that raise at least $165,000 during the Relay season an opportunity to name an existing post-doctoral fellowship research grant in honor of a loved one or their team. Once identified, this named grant is active for three years. 

The Naturals from the Relay For Life of York, PA received this honor in 2019 and named its first grant “Gabby Galino and The Naturals of UNFI Hope Research Grant.” This grant honors Gabby Galino, a 13-year-old student at Northern Middle School in York County, PA, who was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. 

The Hero of Research Award gave team co-captain Daryl Holstay (pictured here) and other members of The Naturals an opportunity to virtually meet Sarah Hengel, PhD, recipient of the grant (pictured above with Daryl), and Kara Bernstein, PhD, associate professor at the University of Pittsburgh and principle investigator for the lab Dr. Hengel is a part of. 

Watch this video highlighting the fundraising efforts of The Naturals and the cancer research being made possible by its grant.

About the team

The Naturals joined the Relay community more than 10 years ago as a very small team. They were able sell donated organic/natural produce and health and beauty products from the company (UNFI) at Relay events to raise dollars to support ACS. As the product grew, and with the team captain’s position in the company, it afforded him the opportunity to work with vendors and buyers to gather more product to sell at supporting events for the team, as well. Due to their efforts, The Naturals raised more than $166,000 in 2019!   

In 2019, two other teams qualified for the Heroes of Research Award — Nucor Steel Louisiana (from Relay For Life of St. James Parish, LA) and Ravens in the Hood (from Fighting Cancer to the Coast in Seaside, OR). Among the three teams, they raised more than $285,000 over what they did in 2018.

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