WILMINGTON — Many Clinton Countians have walked the walk — one step at a time, one day at a time and, once a year, one lap at a time in the annual Relay for Life of Clinton County, set for Saturday.
“Several years ago, I walked in the Survivor’s Lap with my mom,” said cancer survivor Randy Riley of one part of the event. “It was very emotional for both of us.
“However, two years ago I walked the Survivor’s Lap carrying my grandson, Clayton. He was only 18 months old and had just been released from Children’s Hospital after surgery to remove his right eye. His eye was filled with cancer – retinoblastoma.
“Following six-months of chemotherapy, Clayton was been declared “cancer free.” We will continue to walk together on the Survivor’s Lap as a celebration of life and a celebration of Clayton’s future.”
The Relay for Life of Clinton County on Saturday will bring together hundreds of cancer survivors, their families and friends, and community members raising funds and raising awareness in memory of loved ones lost.
“In the simplest of terms, Relay For Life is a year-long fundraising effort in which all proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society,” Samantha Williams, Relay For Life of Clinton County Marketing and Activities Chair, shared recently in a News Journal story. “This effort culminates in a day-long event where groups of people and individuals come together to celebrate survivors and remember those who they have lost.
“Through my seven-plus years of being involved in a Relay event — as a participant, as a team captain, as an event co-chair, and this year, as a member of the Clinton County Event Leadership Team — I’ve learned that while Relay at its core is a fundraising endeavor, its strength comes from the community it builds, not the dollars it brings in … Individuals walk the track and tell stories about loved ones. They sit at the luminaria table together, decorating their luminaria bags with the names of friends or family members, sharing memories with one another. They participate in various games and activities.”
This year’s event is set for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. at J.W. Denver Williams Jr. Memorial Park and includes:
• Opening Ceremony, 11 a.m.
The event kicks off by celebrating everyone who’s been affected by cancer. Whether someone’s been diagnosed for 10 days or been cancer-free for 10 years, they gather together for the crowd to cheer them on.
• Survivors and Caregiver Ceremony, 11:15 a.m.
Survivors define courage and inspire those facing a cancer diagnosis. Their strength is honored with each step they take around the first lap. If you know anyone who’s overcome cancer, invite them to join. Caring for others is such a selfless act, which is why we honor caregivers with a lap. They often walk with the person they’ve supported.
• Luminaria Ceremony, 9:30 p.m.
Each Luminaria bag represents a loved one lost to cancer, brings support to those affected by it, and honors survivors. This powerful moment gives people the opportunity to grieve but also offers hope and comfort.
• Closing Ceremony, 10:30 p.m.
This is a celebration of all that we’ve accomplished together and remember those we’ve lost. Together, we commit to take action and help end the pain and suffering of cancer.
For more information, visit relayforlife.org/clintoncounty or like the Facebook page — Relay For Life of Clinton County Ohio.