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Relay for Life celebrates survivors and raises hope in the fight against cancer

FROM STAFF REPORTS

MARBLE FALLS — The 2014 Relay for Life of Burnet and Marble Falls is inching closer, but there’s still time for you, your family, your business or your organization to get involved.

The event is May 16 at Marble Falls Middle School’s Pony Stadium, 1511 Pony Circle Drive. It starts at 6 p.m. but continues through the night until early May 17.

Whether you want to be part of the all-night affair or simply show up for an hour or so, Relay for Life will gladly welcome you as a teammate to celebrate cancer survivors while also helping stamp out the dreaded disease.

Relay for Life is the largest fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. Communities across the country hold Relays for Life at different times, but the intent is all the same: raise up survivors, have a good time and raise money to beat cancer.

You can learn more or register a team by going to www.relayforlife.org and entering “Burnet” or “Marble Falls” in the location box. This will direct you to the local event’s page.

The basis of the event is the team.

People form teams before the actual Relay for Life and then hold different fundraisers leading up to the walk and even during it.

During the actual Relay for Life, one member of each team is on the track walking during the event and through the night. The walkers, of course, take turns, making it a relay.

This symbolizes that cancer never sleeps and cancer patients are always battling the disease.

But it’s not just about walking. The night bustles with fun, games and music.

It is, after all, a celebration.

Relay for Life helps each community celebrate its cancer survivors.

While the main atmosphere is celebratory, the relay takes a more somber tone during the luminaria ceremony, which occurs just after dark. People purchase a luminary and place the name of someone who has lost the battle with cancer (or a survivor) on the bag. Volunteers then line the luminaries around the track and light the candles just before nightfall. When the candles are all lit, the stadium lights go off, leaving the flickering luminaries to light the way.

Volunteers also read the names of all those honored by the luminaria ceremony.

After the ceremony, the lights come back on and the festivities continue.

Though a team-centered event, organizers encourage everybody to come out at some point during the relay and show their support. They can attend the opening ceremony shortly after 6 p.m. and cheer on the survivors during the Survivor Lap.

Or, stop by around dark for the luminaria ceremony.

But just come, organizers ask.

Many of the funds raised through Relay for Life stay in the local community to support survivors and survivor services.

editor@thepicayune.com