The American Cancer Society is inviting all area residents who have been affected by cancer to participate in a community-wide celebration of life at the Relay For Life of Clay County, which will be held on May 1.
Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature event that raises funds and awareness of cancer research and patient programs. For 12 hours, teams of family, friends and co-workers camp out, each taking turns walking a track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times, a reminder that cancer never sleeps.
"Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together to honor those that are battling the disease, remember loved ones lost to cancer and band together in their fight against cancer," said Dawn Clinkenbeard, community development director with American Cancer Society.
Participating cancer survivors are given commemorative pins or sashes to wear as they lead a special Victory Lap around the track in honor of their triumph over cancer. The Victory Lap begins the unique event and will be held at 6 p.m.
"Our cancer survivors feel the Victory Lap is one of the most moving experiences of their lives," said Clinkenbeard. "Each year I'm overwhelmed by the crowds of people who surround the track cheering on survivors. It reminds me why we're there."
Also at the heart of this emotional event is the Luminaria Ceremony, which occurs after sundown. Luminaria are small candlelit bags decorated with the names of people who have faced cancer. The lit bags represent love and loss, survivorship and hope in the fight for the future.
"The sight of the luminaria glowing in the darkness is breathtaking," said Clinkenbeard. "The Luminaria Ceremony brings to light the impact cancer has had on this community and inspires us to do everything possible to find a cure."
Luminaria are available from a Relay For Life participant or by calling (812) 232-2679. They also will be available at the event. All donations received from the luminarias are used to fund the American Cancer Society's mission of research, education, advocacy and service. For information about entering a team in Relay For Life, contact Dawn at (812) 232-2679.
The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the Society has 14 regional divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free (800) ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.