Luminarias light up the darkness

Published 8:07 pm Saturday, April 23, 2016

The luminaria ceremony is the most emotional and traditional part of Relay for Life.

It honors the battles survivors have fought or are still fighting. It memorializes those whose battles with cancer ended in death.

“The luminaria ceremony helps us to remember,” Chelsea Peoples, community manager for Relay for Life, wrote in an email. “They provide a light in the darkness literally during Relay, but that’s what the American Cancer Society aims to do for cancer survivors figuratively. Each story of those that are represented by a luminaria lives on to light up the track.”

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This year, the traditional white luminaria bags are available for $10, while torches of hope are available for $50.

“The ones we remember will always light our path,” Peoples wrote. “Whether the journey each luminaria represents has finished or continues to move forward, we know the reasons to Relay light up tracks all around the world with survivors, caregivers and participants alike joining the fight to find a cure.”

The 2016 Suffolk Relay for Life will take place May 20-21 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. at Nansemond River High School. The luminaria ceremony begins at 10 p.m.

To buy torches of hope or luminaria bags, visit They can also be purchased on May 9 from 6 to 8 p.m. at King’s Fork High School, 351 Kings Fork Road. Folks purchasing them in person can then take them home to decorate and bring them back to the event.

So far, 70 teams and 499 participants have raised $65,000. There is a goal of 100 teams.

Visit for more information.