Hope lives here at Christmas

Published 8:27 pm Friday, December 18, 2015

Cancer never takes a holiday, and this year, neither will the Relay for Life.

Recognizing that many of those who have lost loved ones to cancer would like to remember them in a special way at Christmas, the American Cancer Society’s annual fundraising project is expanding from its usual springtime focus this year, offering families luminaria they can place outside their homes in memory of loved ones claimed by the scourge of cancer.

“The whole idea is to take one of the most treasured, memorable parts of Relay and bringing that home to share with loved ones around Christmas when everybody’s home,” said Chelsea Peoples, community manager for Relay for Life of Suffolk.

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The luminaria ceremony at Relay for Life is one of the most moving parts of that event. Weighted bags with candles inside line the track where participants walk, and the effect can be intensely emotional.

For those families that take advantage of the opportunity to light candles in honor of those who’ve passed, the effect at Christmas of even a single luminaria is likely to be just as emotional.

Peoples will be delivering the bags and sample scripts for a short ceremony during the next few days. She’s encouraging those families that feel comfortable doing so to share photos of their ceremonies on social media with the hashtag #hopeliveshere.

To get a luminaria bag, contact Peoples at 235-2440 or chelsea.peoples@cancer.org. The suggested donation per luminaria is $10.