Relay for Life events to aid in combating cancer

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Brookhaven Relay for Life week now has a new occasion tocelebrate the gift of life – especially life after cancer.

Western Sizzlin Assistant Manager and Director of Sales WendyShelton said this year there will be a survivor’s dinner held from5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and cancer survivors will eatfree.

“The community is very important to us, and we’ve all lostpeople to cancer,” Shelton said. “This is our way of honoring thesurvivors.”

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The dinner will allow survivors to eat anything off the menu,and guests are welcome, though they are asked to pay for theirmeals.

The Survivor’s Dinner comes two days before the yearly Relay forLife, which will be held at the Brookhaven Exchange Club at 6 p.m.Friday. Meanwhile on Friday and Saturday of the relay, people whotell Western Sizzlin employees they’re with the Relay for Life willget 10 percent of their ticket costs donated to the American CancerSociety by the popular steak restaurant.

The relay itself is an overnight trek that keeps teams walkingfrom 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. American Cancer Society CommunityRepresentative Kathy Prospere said the staying awake to make thejourney through the wee hours of the morning is symbolic of thebattle against cancer.

“Cancer doesn’t sleep,” Prospere said. “And for 12 hours, wedon’t either.”

The event starts with an opening ceremony where the survivorsget to open the relay with their own lap, and they carry a bannerand wear T-shirts showing their designation as having fought thebattle and won. A track is painted in the parking lot of theExchange Club, and through the night, teams members walk for thecause.

At 10 p.m. the Luminaria service is held, where candles areplaced around the track in honor of and in celebration of fightingback against the ravages of the disease, Prospere said.

“We are celebrating the coming together of the community tocelebrate and remember,” she said. “Hopefully one day we will finda cure.”

Relay for Life officials said there are approximately 21 teamsin the relay, with room for a few more.

Exchange Club representative Ted Ratcliff said at anorganizational meeting last week that the relay has traditionallyhad around 25 teams. And through the years new teams join andothers drop out, so the event is right on track for years past.

The Exchange Club rides and games will be open Friday from 7p.m. to 10 p.m., with wristbands for unlimited rides for $15 each.While Relay organizers discourage political campaigning and pets,family members of all ages are welcome to attend.

Food will be on sale with all proceeds going to the Relay, withbooths for manicures and face painting as well.