Relay For Life hopes to scare away cancer


Each year, Monroe County offers a chance to bring together the entire community through Relay For Life.

The annual event provides attendees the opportunity to raise money to save lives from cancer in a unique way.

Teams participate in the relay through a variety of activities that last throughout an entire night, all while keeping a member walking or running on a track — because cancer never sleeps.

This year’s relay will take place from 6:30 p.m. Friday to 6:30 a.m. Saturday, at Gibault Catholic High School.

The Luminaria Ceremony will take place at 9 p.m., and the Fight Back Ceremony will be at 11 p.m.

According to a press release from event chairwoman Rhonda Pour, the Luminaria Ceremony is a way to remember those who lost their battle to cancer and to pay tribute to survivors.

Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who have been affected by cancer.

“The American Cancer Society has contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since the early 1990s, and as we celebrate 100 years of fighting to save lives, we reinforce our commitment to bringing an end to cancer as we know it, so that fewer people will have to suffer from this terrible disease,” she said in the press release.

The reasoning for the overnight event is because cancer never sleeps.

“The light and darkness of the day and night parallel the physical efforts, emotions and mental state of a cancer patient while undergoing treatment,” Pour said.

The evening will include several different activities ranging from live music to water balloon volleyball to a duct tape costume fashion show.

Some of the other events will be spooky-themed as well, including Build a Scary Word Challenge, Find Your Ghoul-Mate laps at the track, hayrides and a dunking booth.

“Since the event will be held on Friday the 13th, the volunteers unanimously decided to make the theme ‘Scare Away Cancer,’” Christopher Andrews from the American Cancer Society said. “This theme has created some cool and unique opportunities for the Relay this year.”

Activities will take place throughout the night with chances for teams to participate and win tickets. At the end of the night, the tickets will be collected to determine the winner. Activities include anything from scavenger hunts to water balloon volleyball to various types of themed relays.

Laps around the track will also have different themes, including poker laps and pajama laps.

Teams are encouraged to bring costumes for themed laps.

According to the Gibault event on the Relay For Life website, participants and sponsors have already raised more than $41,000.

Andrews said they are expecting between 300 and 400 people from the community to be present this year.

He said he is looking forward to being able to watch all the volunteers’ hard work pay off and meeting the community’s cancer survivors.

“(The volunteers) have worked very hard to plan the event, and secure all of the items we need to successfully put on this event,” he said. “(The survivors’ ) stories of triumph, strength, and courage are motivation to me for what I do.”

To register for the relay or to sign up for sponsorship, visit the Relay For Life website and type in “Relay For Life of Monroe County.”

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