What is Relay for Life? Come and find out

Editors Note: This story is a part of the Sun-Gazette Purple Paper edition for Relay For Life, the largest international network of community fundraisers in the fight against cancer. The actual event will be held May 18-19, 2019 at Dobson Field in Exeter. The purpose of this paper is to help raise awareness about the Exeter Relay For Life while simultaneously raising money toward the event’s overall donation to ACS.


EXETER – Every one of us has been touched by cancer. Whether it is a relative who died before we were old enough to remember or a child taken too young, cancer continues to kill 7.6 million people around the world each year.

The statistics might seem overwhelming but there is strength in numbers for the opposition to cancer as well. If you want to join the fight and help find a cure, Relay For Life is where you should be.

What started as one doctor’s run to raise money for cancer research nearly 30 years ago has now spread to more than 23 countries and communities around the world – including Exeter.

On May 18-19 Exeter will hold its twelfth annual Relay For Life event, a fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society. This will be the second year the event has been held at Dobson Field on Rocky Hill Drive. For those who have never attended a Relay For Life, it’s a combination of camping, exercise, fund-raising, baking, music, movies … well really there is something for everyone!

Individuals, businesses and organizations form teams comprised of friends, family and employees. The teams each have a goal of raising at least $100 per person and an overall goal to raise money for the event. Exeter hopes to raise $100,000 overall for cancer research.

The theme for this year’s Exeter Relay is “Don’t Play Games with Cancer.” The national motto of the Relay is “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” signified by three main events at the beginning, middle and end of each relay:

• Celebrate: Relay starts with a Survivors Lap – an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories they’ve achieved over cancer. The lap also recognizes and celebrates caregivers who give their time, love, and support to friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers who face cancer.

• Remember: After dark, relay honors people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence. Bags can be purchased “in honor” of cancer survivors and “in memory” of those lost to cancer. Exeter has set a goal to sell 3,000 luminaries to light up the night.

• Fight Back: Last, there is the Closing Ceremonies, where teams gather to tally the money they have raised for cancer research. All of the monies raised through Relay For Life benefit the American Cancer Society, whose research continued to help save the lives of millions of people affected by cancer every year. By taking action, people are personally taking steps to save lives and fight back against a disease that takes too much. If you have never attended a Relay For Life, it is never too late to start your battle with cancer – for someone you love, or possibly someday for yourself.

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