Vermont Business - Online
March 7, 2012

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. One important aspect of the upcoming American Cancer Society Relay For Life® NordicStyle is the opportunity for people to come together to remember loved ones lost to cancer and honor those who have won their battle.

At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events.

As the sun sets over campsites and darkness falls, the night is brightened by the glow of candles illuminated in bags called luminaria, each bearing the name of someone who has battled cancer. Some celebrate cancer survivors, while others help us honor and remember those gone too soon. All represent someone special who has been profoundly affected by cancer and the family and friends who continue to fight back in their honor. Luminaria will be lit at the Trapp Family Lodge on March 10, at 9 p.m. to represent these individuals. For a donation of $10, anyone desiring to honor or remember someone with a luminaria may do so by visiting

“It is a beautiful sight when all the bags with candles are illuminated around the track,” said Richard Swenson, volunteer luminaria chair. “The Luminaria Ceremony is a moving way to celebrate what cancer survivors have overcome, while motivating the community to continue to fight the disease that claims too many lives.”

Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups . . . people from all walks of life – all aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society's efforts to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back. Relay for Life began in 1985, when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, took the first step of his 24-hour walk around a track in Tacoma, Wash., and raised $27,000 to support the American Cancer Society. In 2012, more than 3.5 million people in 5,146 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 21 other countries, will gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer.

Prior to the Luminaria Ceremony, the Survivors Lap will kick off Relay for Life NordicStyle on March 10, at 6 p.m. as survivors and their caregivers will circle the track, surrounded by friends and family cheering them on.

Also a part of the Relay for Life event is the “Fight Back” Ceremony, in which a community leader will inspire Relay participants with his or her own commitment and will challenge them to take a personal pledge of action (e.g. stop smoking, healthier eating habits, exercise regularly, etc.) in fighting back.

Everyone's reason to Relay is as unique as their own personal story. No matter why you take part in Relay, however, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you help the American Cancer Society save lives. With your help, we aren't just fighting one type of cancer – we're fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. For information about making a luminaria donation, forming a team, or walking in the Survivors Lap, please call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight.

As the nation's largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing about $3.6 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit

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