Relay For Life will be held this Friday at the Washington High School track. The event will begin at 6 p.m. and last until midnight.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and funds raised during the event benefit individuals who are fighting cancer.
Mary Cox is part of the event leadership committee, as well as the luminary chair and activities chair. She said she is “really passionate” about the relay and is working to “bring it back to its former glory.”
It appears that the hard work is paying off. As of Tuesday evening, $36,963 has already been raised. This puts the Relay well on its way to achieving its goal of raising $40,000.
“Mostly everything that’s been done to make this event what it is this year has been done by local hands,” Cox said.
Twenty-three teams have registered to participate in the Relay. Members of these teams have worked together to raise thousands of dollars toward the fight against cancer. Throughout the event, at least one member of each team must be present on the track. This is meant to symbolize the fact that “cancer never sleeps.” Just as cancer patients can’t simply take a day off, teams will not take any time off throughout the evening.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. with an opening ceremony. Then, cancer survivors will be invited to take a lap around the track together. So far, 246 survivors have registered.
“I don’t think people realize how many cancer survivors we have in this community,” said Cox, who explained that the Relay shows these individuals that the community supports and cares for them.
In addition to the Survivors’ Lap, survivors will also be recognized at a special dinner provided by Prime Meats and Deli and during an open mic where participants and attendees will have the opportunity to thank a survivor.
After the survivors’ lap, there will be a team lap. During this time, all 23 teams will line up on the track and be recognized “for all the hard work they’ve done to raise money for the event.” Then, members of each team will continue to do laps while attendees cheer them on and participate in a range of other activities, including: silent auctions, a scavenger hunt, face painting, coloring, field day activities, a cakewalk, and more. Food and drinks will also be available for sale.
At sunset, the luminary ceremony will be held. During the ceremony, luminaries made of sand-filled milk jugs and candles will be lit. Each luminary will be dedicated to someone who has been affected by cancer. Luminaries can be purchased for $10 the night of the relay or before the event at relayforlife.org. The $10 fee will be donated to the American Cancer Society. At 11:30, the closing ceremony will be held.
Representatives from the Washington Police Department, Washington Fire Department, and Fayette County Sheriff’s Office will be present. In addition, John Deere tractors will be on display to celebrate the event’s theme of “Down on the Farm.”
Although there will be plenty of fun for the whole family, activities that are focused on improving and even saving the lives of cancer patients will take center stage. In addition to donating money, attendees and participants will have the opportunity to help caner patients by writing notes of encouragement and joining a bone marrow registry. The registration is completely free, thanks to sponsorship from McKesson, and simply requires that individuals perform a cheek swab and provide an email address. They’ll then be sent a quick questionnaire to complete before being added to a list of potential bone marrow donors. Then, if their bone marrow matches the needs of a patient, they’ll be notified and have the option of potentially saving someone’s life.
Many individuals and local businesses have come together to make the Relay possible. Cox said “it really shows what this community can do.” There’s still time for businesses to join in this important fight against cancer. Interested business owners may contact event co-chairs Beth Blair and Ruth Ann Ruth at 740-636-3005 or 740-335-1331, respectively, or Cox at 740-505-8559.
Cox encourages all members of the community to come out to support the Relay.
“You’re helping someone’s brother, sister, mother, grandmother fight this battle,” she said, adding, “we can make a better future for these people that have cancer and make a better future for their families.”
Reach Megan Neary at 614-440-9124