Luminaria ceremony honors, remembers

Published 10:03 pm Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Luminarias glow from the track at a prior Relay For Life event. The luminarias, which honor or memorialize loved ones who have fought cancer, are available at Friday’s event before the 9 p.m. ceremony.

Luminarias glow from the track at a prior Relay For Life event. The luminarias, which honor or memorialize loved ones who have fought cancer, are available at Friday’s event before the 9 p.m. ceremony.

There’s still time to honor or memorialize loved ones who have fought cancer at the Suffolk Relay For Life this weekend.

The luminaria ceremony, always an emotional time of remembrance at the Relay, will take place around 9 p.m. Friday at Bennett’s Creek Park. Relay lasts from 6 p.m. Friday to 6 a.m. Saturday.

Lighted candles inside small, white bags — weighed down with donated canned food, which will later be given to the food bank — represent the lives of each person who has fought cancer or is still fighting.

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“The bags give everybody a way to represent their family and their loved ones so that during the event, they have somewhere to go and reflect and memorialize them, or to cheer them on for fighting cancer and surviving cancer,” said Tayloe Brooks, luminaria chair for the Suffolk Relay For Life.

About 1,500 to 2,000 luminarias are sold for $10 donations each year, Brooks said. In addition to pre-orders that have been taken, they will be on sale from 4 to 8:30 p.m. at Relay.

A Girl Scout troop will place the luminarias on the track as they’re sold, and the ceremony will begin at 9.

Brooks said the ceremony can be a special help for children. She’s expecting it to have special meaning for her own family, as her mother-in-law passed away from cancer last year.

“This will hopefully help (my children) understand a lot more, and it gives them a place to be with other people who are feeling the same way,” Brooks said.

For more information on Relay, visit www.relayforlife.org/suffolkva.