Taylor Relay for Life to honor area cancer survivors

Calling all cancer survivors! The American Cancer Society is inviting all area residents who have been affected by cancer to participate in a community-wide celebration of life at the Relay for Life of Taylor, which will be held June 2-3 at Heritage Park in Taylor.

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s signature event that raises funds and awareness of cancer research and patient programs. For 24 hours, teams of family, friends and co-workers camp out, each taking turns walking a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times – a reminder that cancer never sleeps.

“Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for people from all walks of life to come together to honor those that are battling the disease, remember loved ones lost to cancer and band together in their fight against cancer,” said Nicole Abdilla, community representative with the American Cancer Society.

Participating cancer survivors are given commemorative pins or sashes to wear as they lead a special victory lap around the track in honor of their triumph over cancer. The victory lap begins the unique event at 10 a.m.

“The victory lap is one of the most moving experiences of my life,” said cancer survivor Denise Chapman of Taylor. “Each year, I’m overwhelmed by the crowds of people who surround the track cheering on survivors like myself. It reminds me that I’m not alone in my fight against cancer.”

Also at the heart of this emotional event is the luminaria ceremony, which occurs after sundown. Luminaria are small candlelit bags decorated with the names of people who have faced cancer. The lit bags line the track often into the morning hours.

“The sight of the luminaria glowing in the darkness is breathtaking,” said Sharon Vespremi of Taylor. “The luminaria ceremony brings to light the impact cancer has had on our community and inspires us to do everything possible to find a cure.”

Luminaria are available from a Relay for Life participant or by calling (248) 483-4355. They also will be available at the event. All donations received from the luminaria are used to fund the American Cancer Society’s mission of research, education, advocacy and service.

For information about entering a team in Relay for Life, contact Nicole Abdilla at (248) 483-4355.

This year, donations can be made to the Taylor Relay for Life event and participants can start or join a team by visiting www.acsevents.org/relay/mi/taylor. Relay Online is used as a fund-raising tool as well as a means of raising awareness regarding types of cancer and information about programs and services offered by the American Cancer Society.

As the society's signature event, Relay has been bringing cancer survivors and anyone touched by the disease together since 1985. The first Relay for Life was held in Tacoma, Washington when its founder, Dr. Gordy Klatt, decided to run for 24 hours at his local high school's track with the idea that cancer never sleeps. That year, Dr. Klatt raised about $27,000 for the American Cancer Society and invited teams of friends and families to join him in the future.

Today, more than 4,000 communities across American host their own Relay for Life and the event has raised more than $1 billion for the fight against cancer.

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem by saving lives, diminishing suffering and preventing cancer through research, education, advocacy and service. Founded in 1913 and with national headquarters in Atlanta, the society has 13 regional divisions and local offices in 3,400 communities, involving millions of volunteers across the United States. For more information anytime, call toll free 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.