LINWOOD — The American Cancer Relay for Life is back for its ninth year at Mainland Regional High School Friday, May 17- Saturday, May 18. It is nearly a month earlier than in in years past and the co-chairpersons for the Relay for Life-Linwood, Felicia Niven of Northfield and Sharon Leavy of Egg Harbor Township are planning an event on the football field and track that will celebrate and cheer on cancer survivors and their caretakers and honor those who have lost their battle with the disease. The event has raised more than $250,000 over the years to aid cancer research to hopefully bring a cure to the disease that disrupts and destroys lives.
Relay participants stay overnight to recognize that cancer doesn’t sleep and neither will they until a cure is found. Cancer survivors attend for free, and others are asked to make a donation of $10 or more to the American Cancer Society. Cancer survivors and their caregivers are honored at the opening ceremonies, in a survivor lap around the track. Purple is the color of the night and survivors will begin the Relay for Life sporting purple T-shirts and bandanas as they make their way around the track. Tradition has the rest of the crowd assembled cheering on the survivors and caregivers from the stands.
Niven said “Throughout the night, participants walk around the track to raise money for cancer. There also are events from Zumba to volleyball, wing eating contests, and more. A highlight of the night is the luminaria service, a candlelight vigil held at nightfall (typically around 9 p.m.) to honor survivors and to remember those lost to cancer. Luminaria candles line the track and are left burning throughout the night as a reminder to participants the importance of their involvement in the Relay for Life event. The candles are placed in bags with names and pictures of loved ones.”
There will be a survivors dinner held under a tent on the infield at Mainland’s football field. Sean Carey, a senior at Mainland and a cancer survivor will speak to the crowd. Mainland students and talented singers Charity Zappone and Sophie Barton will sing and the evening will be filled with moments that may draw a tear and others that will be lots of fun.
Since the first Relay for Life, held in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington, Relay for Life has raised more than $5 billion at more than 5,200 events throughout the country. The Relay for Life in Linwood is the only Relay in Atlantic or Cape May counties other than one at Stockton University that was held in April.
Relay for Life is open to anyone who wants to participate. Volunteers of all ages are welcome and encouraged to step up and help kick cancer down the track. To find out more about Relay for Life, or to register a team, please visit RelayForLife.org/LinwoodNJ, or email email@example.com. For questions, call/text Sharon at 609- 457-4105 or Felicia at 609- 214-4260.