By Rebecca Gitlen
June 8, 2012. The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Watauga County will be held today at the Watauga High School football stadium. Teams will begin setting up their sites at 2 p.m. Food, fun, games, silent auction and entertainment will begin at 5 p.m. Opening Ceremonies will be at 7 p.m. with a Survivor Lap at 7:15 p.m. Team Laps and Caregiver Recognition will also be held, and the Luminaria Ceremony will begin around dusk.
The Survivors Lap at 7:15 p.m. is an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories achieved over cancer. Caregivers are also recognized and celebrated at Relay For Life. These individuals give their time, love and support to friends, family, neighbors and coworkers who face cancer.
As the sun sets, there will be a luminaria ceremony. Each luminaria candle in the ceremony represents a person. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends, coworkers and so much more.
Luminaria lining the track illuminate the night and a hush falls over the event that had been filled with the sounds of celebration. Relay For Life participants, survivors and caregivers then gather together for the Luminaria Ceremony to remember loved ones lost to cancer and to honor those who have battled the disease. As participants walk the track lined with luminara bags in reflection, a caregiver who has lost a loved one may find comfort from a fellow caregiver who has faced a similar loss. Meanwhile, a survivor gains hope and strength from others who have followed the same journey and survived. All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.
Last, there is a Fight Back Ceremony, where you can make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer. That personal commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, quitting smoking or talking to elected officials about cancer. By taking action, people are personally taking steps to save lives and fight back against a disease that takes too much.
Each person’s reasons for walking in the Relay For Life are as unique and special as the story that motivates them. This is an opportunity to not only honor cancer survivors and remember lost loved ones, but also to raise funds and awareness to help save lives. Because of continued support, Relay for Life is creating a world where cancer can’t claim another year of anyone’s life. Help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays.
For more info, contact Kathy Idol, Co-Chair, Relay For Life, 828-264-5240.