While Relay For Life leaves participants hoping for a cure for cancer, one team's loss of its captain left them wishing for a cure as well.
Georgine "Genie" Miller, 54, passed away from cancer on March 23, about a month and a half before this year's Relay For Life in Warren on May 9.
Miller always made a point to tell others that her name was spelled with a G, like the genie who lives in a bottle.
Miller stepped up to be captain of the Brodell Medical team this year, along with co-captain Melanie Boucher, after longtime captain Sue Pappada retired.
Erin Glista, who organized Relay For Life in Warren, called Brodell Medical an amazing group that has been a part of the Warren Relay since the team formed 21 years ago.
Boucher, who worked with Miller, said the Brodell Medical office is like a family, and about half the office is involved with the Relay team.
Laurie Wilson, who worked with Miller and is a part of the team, said Miller was always willing to lend a hand.
"A lot of people work here, but she was always one to take initiative," Wilson said.
In her 12 years working at Brodell Medical, Genie had been an integral part of the team's success, especially when spearheading a craft show in 2012.
On Feb 11, an average work day, she went to the doctor.
"She had been having some coughing for a year, and was being treated for bronchitis and adult asthma, and then she became sick around New Year's," Boucher said. "She ended up having a chest x-ray, and it showed she had cancer in both lungs."
The diagnosis was a surprise to the office, since the gravity of cancer didn't seem to match her symptoms.
"We knew here that she had this cough and a little trouble with her breathing, but we never thought 'Oh, my God, she has all this cancer inside her,'" Boucher said.
Though she was at work the day of her diagnosis, she was unable to return to the office again.
"Many of us said 'She'll be back. She's a fighter, she's strong,'" Boucher said.
Further tests also revealed cancer in her bones, liver and brain.
Boucher said co-workers would take her to treatments, take her meals and visit her when they were able.
Though Miller's spirit was ready and willing to begin treatment, doctors said they had never seen cancer progress so fast, and that the radiation was ineffective. Forty days after her diagnosis, she was gone.
"We never thought all that would happen so fast," Boucher said. "We still feel like she's on vacation and she'll be back any time."
But the Relay continued. The team honored her with a "Genie in a Bottle" theme, all three of the wishes being for her. They also made buttons with her picture on them, which they plan on wearing at future relays.
Wilson said Miller's husband, sisters and nieces participated in the Relay in her memory, and will do so again next year.
Although the team had previously won awards for raising the most money, this year they came in third because of the complications. But, not for being idle.
"Since her diagnosis, we've done things to help raise money in the office for her and any expenses she was going to have with the treatment," Boucher said. "People in the office would see stuff that we had for sale, or ask about her and we'd tell them the situation and they would just want to give a donation to help her, out of the goodness of their heart."
Miller was not their only loss this year; Emil "Butch" Perunko, who did artwork for the Relay, also passed two weeks after Miller on April 14. Wilson said Miller and her husband were close to Butch and his wife Amy, who worked closely with Miller at Brodell Medical.
Brodell Medical is looking forward to celebrating their lives at the Relay next year. For now, the team is reflecting on time spent with Genie.
"We always were laughing and rooting people on in the rain (at the Relay)," Wilson said. "We were constantly in the rain."