In 1987, Seattle was preparing for their Relay for Life.
They had arranged for lights but discovered at about noon on the day of the event that, for some reason, the lights were not going to work. As you can imagine, the committee was fit to be tied. One of the members suggested lining the track with luminaria bags to enable the participants to see the track as they walked or ran. The committee immediately purchased what they needed to implement the “luminary light” idea. When they lit the candles in the bags that night, it changed the atmosphere at the track. The soft lighting was conducive to talking about why everyone was there — to fight cancer and honor those who had survived and those had lost the battle.
The next year, the Tacoma Relay for Life committee (who had heard about what a beautiful experience the candles had produced) and a few other Relay committees included a luminaria ceremony, honoring cancer survivors and remembering those who had lost the battle. Everyone who took part in the luminaria ceremony was deeply touched. The ceremony grew in popularity and eventually became part of Relay for Life events across the country.
A special luminaria ceremony held during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life remembers those lost to cancer and honors those who have survived. Luminaria candles will be lit at the Miami County Fairgrounds, June 9-10 at 6 p.m., to represent those individuals. Anyone desiring to purchase a luminaria may do so by contacting the sites listed at the end of this article. Each luminaria candle is still $10. When you make a donation for a luminaria it helps fund the American Cancer Society’s mission to help save lives.
Relay for Life brings numerous groups and individuals concerned about cancer together for a unified effort to fight back. Former and current cancer patients, their families, businesses, civic organizations, and the public are invited to take part in this exciting team event. This “celebration of life” takes place June 9-10 at the Miami County Fairgrounds, Troy.
Relay for Life is a family-oriented event where participants enjoy the camaraderie of a team and also raise funds to support the activities of the American Cancer Society. Participants camp out at the Relay site and when they are not taking their turn walking or running, they take part in fun activities and enjoy local entertainment.
Miami County’s cancer survivors will kick off the Relay for Life June 9 with the first official lap; then the rest of the participants join the fun. Information about purchasing luminaria, forming a team or walking in the survivors lap is available from the sites below.
For information on cancer, call the American Cancer Society’s 24-hour hot line at (800) 227-2345 or visit the website www.cancer.org. The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by preventing cancer, saving lives, and diminishing suffering from cancer through research, education, advocacy and service.
Kelly Hinderman is a member of Team Honda for the 2017 Miami County Relay for Life