The candlelight Luminaria ceremony is an emotional tribute to honor loved ones who lost their battle to cancer. Personalized decorative bags are placed on display -- usually forming a word such as HOPE or CURE -- while a roll call of the names are read to the crowd.
When the ceremony is complete, Relay participants walk the track in remembrance and silence to honor their loved ones.
"It's a very emotional experience," Event Chair Janice Piatt said. "It brings meaning to the reason why we Relay."
During the upcoming 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life Event (starting 4 p.m., May 22-23), a new and more personalized way to share the memory of a loved one is available.
Building Blocks started out as an idea of honoring not only the people whose lives have been affected by cancer, but also their story in pictures and words. It was originally envisioned as memory pages designed to look like "stepping stones" placed along the track to inspire walkers.
However, safety issues and a desire to be more respectful changed the idea into Building Blocks, placing the emotional stories along the walls of the track area at the Brazil YMCA.
Event Chair Carrol Evans and her sister and fellow Goodrich Piatt Relay For Life teammate Susan Piatt are putting their 10 years of Scrapbooking knowledge and experience together to create each individual block.
"We're creating 12-inch by 12-inch scrapbook pages in a sleeve to put on display during the event," Evans said. "People can bring their photos, journal entries or other information about a family member or friend and we will create the block for them."
Blocks cost $5 each, with $2 going for the scrapbook supplies and $3 going to support the American Cancer Society. Individuals can make and supply their own building block for display for a $5 donation, which will all go toward the fundraising effort.
"After the event, the blocks will be returned to the person who had them made or donated them for the event," Susan Piatt said. "Hopefully, they will return with (building blocks) next year. We have people who bring back Luminary bags year after year to honor their loved one."
All funds raised by the new Building Blocks program will be used to support the 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life. The event, which begins at 4 p.m., is scheduled to take place at the Clay County YMCA May 22-23.
For more information about Building Blocks or participating in the 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life, contact Event Chair Janice Piatt (812-442-9785) or Event Vice Chair Carrol Evans (812-442-0505) or log on http://www.relayforlife.org/claycountyin.
How you can help
There are several ways to honor the memory of a lost loved one or triumphant victory of a cancer survivor during the upcoming 2010 Clay County American Cancer Society Relay For Life May 22-23.
White Luminary bags for the candlelight ceremony, which will occur at 9 p.m., the May 22, are available for $10 each.
A Building Blocks scrapbook memorial page cost $5 each, with $2 going for the scrapbook supplies and $3 going to support the American Cancer Society.
Individuals can make and supply their own building block for display for a $5 donation, which will all go toward the fundraising effort.
The pages will be put on display during the event and then returned to owners afterward.