Written by Kristin Cacchioli, Hicksville@AntonNews.com Friday, 19 April 2013 00:00
On Saturday, June 8, over 200 Hicksville residents, along with their family and friends, will participate in Relay for Life to honor those who have died from cancer, celebrate those who have overcome it and support those who are fighting against it. Relay for Life is hosted by the American Cancer Society in an effort to raise awareness about the disease.
Megan Stewart, manager of special events for the American Cancer Society said, “Relay is an opportunity to celebrate life and fight back against cancer. It is a way to do something good and help those whom we love.”
During this 12-hour walk-a-thon, teams will camp out at Cantiague Park on West John Street and take turns walking or running around a predetermined path. Relay for Life is a fundraising event and teams are encouraged to find donations from friends and family, as well as get businesses to sponsor them if they choose. The event also honors caregivers, as their commitment and love outweigh all of the struggles that come with the disease. Since its inception in 1985, Relay has become the world’s largest movement to end cancer.
This year, survivors and their families are invited to a pre-Relay dinner at Knights of Columbus for the traditional Survivors Dinner at 6 p.m. Hicksville Legislator Rose Walker is the special Survivor Speaker this year, kicking off Relay for Life at 7 p.m. by sharing her story and encouraging others to keep moving forward in their efforts to end cancer. An inspirational Survivor’s Lap soon follows where all those who have beat the disease take one lap together, symbolizing their strength and how far they have come. “Survivors are living proof that we can beat this and we attend Relay to show them our support,” said Stewart.
As the event proceeds, games and music fill the park, as well as other sources of entertainment, but participants never lose sight of their primary objective. “We have set a goal of $60,000 this year and since starting in Hicksville in 2010, we have raised over $150,000,” stated Stewart. “Hicksville has done an incredible job in the past few years, but we still have more to do. It is important to participate in Relay to show those living with cancer that we believe in them and are fighting for them.”
Come nightfall, the emotional Luminaria Ceremony begins, honoring those whose lives were lost. Candles are placed inside white paper bags filled with sand — each in special memory of one person — and the bags are lined up, illuminating the pathway. “Each bag represents a life,” explained Stewart. “They glow throughout the night and we take a few laps in silence to remember those we lost. It reminds us that in honor of these people, we must finish the fight. Along with the Survivors Lap, it is one of the most incredible experiences of Relay.”
Relay concludes at sunrise with an announcement of the event’s earnings and the Fight Back Ceremony. Everyone makes a personal commitment to save lives by fighting back against this debilitating condition. By taking action, such as receiving a screening test, quitting smoking or talking to someone about the issue, the world is that much closer to ending the fight.
“We participate in Relay so that one day, no one has to hear the words, ‘You have cancer’,” said Stewart. Thanks to this life-changing event, the American Cancer Society continues to save lives.