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Relay for Life will be celebration of 100 years of cancer society

Monday, June 10, 2013

By VICKY MORRISON - Bulletin Staff Writer

Since this year marks the 100th anniversary of American Cancer Society (ACS), Friday’s Martinsville-Henry County Relay for Life will be quite a birthday party.

The event at Fieldale-Collinsville Middle School also will honor the cancer victims and patients it aims to help through ACS’ many services. The relay is a concluding celebration of the community’s efforts in support of finding a cure for cancer.

So far this year, the area has raised $52,668 for the cancer society.

The Relay for Life is an all-night event which combines walking on a track and entertainment.

ACS communications manager Karen Sgrinia said this year will offer several attractions.

“One of the bigger highlights,” she said, “will be the survivor lap.” That first lap will kick off the 12-hour event at 6 p.m. Friday. According to the relay’s website, a DJ will play “upbeat music.”

For the next 12 hours, attendees should expect to be entertained by some of the 37 fundraising teams participating this year. Teams are formed through companies, among family or friends or in honor of cancer victims. At all times during the 12 hours, each team must have one member walking on the school track.

The all-night walking represent the fact that cancer never sleeps.

Each team is asked to create attention-getting and enjoyable fundraisers for the relay. They run the range from bake sales to the more adventurous types, such as a newspaper wedding dress design challenge at a previous relay.

This year’s theme is “Dancing through the decades for a cure.” Different laps will showcase music from a different decade. Each team’s camp site will be decorated according to the music of a particular decade.

A dunking booth, auctions, arts and crafts vendors, a Road to Recovery boxcar race and a Mister Relay Pageant will help pass the 12 hours.

The Road to Recovery boxcar race will be a competition of cardboard cars with tires attached with Velcro. The Velcro-attached tires will allow the “pit-crews” to change them during the race.

The Mister Relay Pageant invites male team members to dress as women and collect votes in the form of cash for about an hour while they take laps around the track. The one with the most cash at the end of the hour wins the title.

The group of about 400 participants will honor victims of cancer during the Luminaria Ceremony at 9 p.m. White bags can be purchased and decorated in honor of cancer victims. The bags have candles placed inside, and then they line the track. Bob Norris will play bagpipes.

A group called the Silent Servants will perform during the Luminaria Ceremony. The Silent Servants is a religious group of 10 people, ages 10 to 22, Sgrinia said. The members wear all black except for white gloves. Black lights illuminate the members’ gloves while they use their hands to form words. Those words “tell a story that goes with songs (playing) in the background,” Sgrinia said.

At midnight, there will be a birthday party to celebrate the 100th anniversary of ACS. Cake will be served to attendees, who is expected to include about 150-200 cancer survivors. Sgrinia said she expects the number of participants to rise to “close to 500” by Friday.

“It’s going to be a party atmosphere because we are celebrating two important things. We are celebrating our cancer survivors and all the hard work we’ve done raising money this year,” she added.

The money raised is contributed to cancer research, clinical trials and free patient support programs and services in the community. These programs include Look Good, Feel Better (makeup, nail and hair care for women in treatment), Road to Recovery (transportation to and from doctor appointments) and Man-to-Man (prostate cancer support group).


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