The American Cancer Society aims to create a world with more birthdays and less cancer. In turn, the town of Somers has picked up the baton and is hosting its first annual Relay for Life on behalf of the society on June 3rd. On the field between the middle school and the intermediate school, says planner Carol Cirieco, “It’s really an event for the whole community.”
Walking the track with a number of teams from 7PM to 7AM on the route 202 address, the money raised goes to cancer research and also makes its way into the communities that host thenationwide walks. We have programs with our patient family services in which we navigate in hospitals to help cancer patients, says Katie Hobday of the ACS in White Plains.
The event in Somers begins at 6PM with the survivor’s dinner and then moves to the track where these honored guests get the first lap. “I’m a survivor myself. It’s a very moving experience to see everybody out there that you know has gone through the same thing as you,” says Ms. Cirieco from her past participation in Yorktown.
Then, as the sun goes down, the relay shines the light of remembrance in the Luminaria Ceremony. Bags of sand are placed around the track and lit by candles to represent those who have fallen to the disease. “It provides a solemn opportunity to remember and honor those who have lost the fight,” says Somers Town Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy.
Then, it’s straight on to morning and as much coffee as it takes. At least one member of your team has to be walking on the track at all times, says Ms. Cirieco.
Height and age requirements do not play in to the pace either, according to the Somers resident. “The kidswill probably sleep all day the next day,” she says.
Of course, enticing them along to finally stay up way past bedtime isn’t really the idea. “It gives the kids a real sense of community service,” she says. Additionally, since they – like anyone else – probably have some connection to cancer, remembrance, awareness and hope are part of their presence too.
Seriousness aside, the all night affair can’t help but being a gathering of good feeling. With donated food abound from local businesses, a DJ and other entertainment, says Ms. Hobday, It’s a fun event for kids and adults alike. You can come out, enjoy and stay overnight - napping on site in the camp as needed.
Out of that, Ms. Cirieco hopes the feeling extends to a caring mindset everyday. Awareness puts you in a position to be supportive, she says, so if you’re neighbor is suffering you can be there with a helping hand.
So far, without a step being taken, the community has made its mark and hasn’t slowed down yet. “The Somers community’s response to the event grows with each passing day. With over 22 teams already formed, and so many people who have volunteered to help organize the Relay, it should be a wonderful premier of what we expect to become an annual tradition,” Ms Murphy concludes.
For more info : www.relayforlife.org/somersny