Relay set this Friday

Published 10:14 pm Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Relay for Life of Suffolk is coming up this Friday, and all are welcome to attend the event to celebrate successes in the fight against cancer, commemorate those who have been lost to the disease, and advance the cause through education and fundraising.

The fundraising event for the American Cancer Society takes place from 6 p.m. to midnight at Nansemond River High School, 3301 Nansemond Parkway. Tara Asare, community manager for Relay for Life, said the time change was implemented to try to get more people to stay for the entire event.

“Last year, we noticed a huge decline of people after the luminaria ceremony,” she said. “We decided to short it a little bit, hoping people would stay the whole time. We would rather there be a ton of people there the whole entire time.”

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More than 300 participants are registered for the event, but it generally attracts thousands of people, and there is no need to register to come.

“You don’t have to be registered to come, you can still come out and enjoy some music, get some food and play some games,” Asare said. “Even people who aren’t registered usually come. Some people just want to walk a lap or buy food or something like that.”

Registered participants have spent the last several months doing various fundraisers to bring in money for the American Cancer Society. So far, the participants have raised more than $50,000. The goal is $200,000, but plenty of money will come in during and after the event.

There will be entertainment during the event, including Joint Therapy Band, Paul Jarman and Joe Gosman Band. For kids, there will be a petting zoo. Knockerball, karaoke and life-sized dinosaurs will entertain all ages.

But of course, the event isn’t just about being entertained and having a good time. It also serves to honor those who have survived cancer and remember those lost to the disease.

After an opening ceremony, the event kicks off with a survivor lap and caregiver lap. A lap honoring military men and women, veterans and first responders also will be featured.

The emotional luminaria ceremony will take place at 10 p.m. Hundreds of candles will be lit in honor of and in memory of people who have survived or died of cancer.

“The feeling of being at a Relay for Life event is indescribable,” Asare said. “It helps people not only in the Suffolk community but also nationwide, and that’s always a good feeling. It’s good to connect with people who have gone through the same thing as you.”

Asare encouraged everyone to come out to Friday’s event.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun, and it’s going toward such an amazing cause,” she said.

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