Relaying for a cure
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Since Saturday’s Relay will not go overnight, Sobel said it could bring in more people. There are only a small percentage of participants who stay at a Relay event until 6 a.m., she said, so having the event end at 11 p.m. will most likely be a benefit. Also, because Relay will not be overnight, music can be played all the way through. Sobel said there are acts and entertainment lined up throughout, including musical performances, a basketball tournament and a scavenger hunt.
But the real reason why the event is held, in addition to raising money, is to honor those who are cancer survivors, those who have lost their battle with cancer and those who provided care to those in need.
Shortly after the event kicks off, there will be an opening lap for survivors and caregivers. Romano said it’s one of the experiences she most looks forward to. At 1 p.m., a survivor and caregiver luncheon will be held and, after sundown, one of the most touching moments of the event takes place: the Luminaria Ceremony.
Participants will circle the track that is surrounded with glowing luminaria that bears the name of someone who has battled cancer as a way to honor the community’s cancer survivors and remember those lost to the disease.
Jennifer Scarduzio, who is coordinating the event with Renee Falmon and Marie Burns, said she wanted to get involved with Relay for a variety of reasons. “It was a ‘why not’ moment,” she said. Scarduzio is also hoping that people who happen to be in the park on Saturday will see Relay and want to get involved in the future.
“Seeing how these people really come together and are so passionate about a cause is a reason that I love waking up every morning and doing this job,” Sobel said.
Saturday’s event is sure to be fun-filled and emotional for all involved, but as people walk the track, each step is one closer to defeating cancer, Romano said. “I Relay with the hope they ‘finish the fight’ and bring an end to cancer,” she said. “I Relay with the hope that no one has to hear those words, “You have cancer.’”