Teams of local residents will gather at Burgess Park starting at 10:00 am on August 11th for a 24 hour overnight relay against cancer. Relay For Life is a family-orientated fun filled event where teams of people walk around a track. Each team has at least one team member walking on the track at all times during the 24 hours of Relay. It is definitely not a competition or race, but rather a community gathering with almost continuous entertainment that everyone, young and old, can enjoy.
Menlo Park resident Jeannette McNeil said, "Last summer my husband and I participated in the Relay For Life as members of a team that had been formed by others. It was such a memorable and satisfying experience that this year we formed our own team so our friends could join us."
"The experience was so powerful for us because it was a wonderful way to honor family and friends who have survived cancer, as well as those who are no longer with us. Plus, it is a way to support the American Cancer Society and the work they do to find a cure for cancer," McNeil added.
The biggest group of walkers is expected at dusk when the Ceremony of Hope, or Luminaria Ceremony takes place. Luminarias are bags filled with sand that have a small candle in them so they glow as the sun goes down. Each Luminaria bears the name of a person who has battled cancer and often includes a personal message. As the Luninarias burn into the night they light the way for the walkers and it is probably the most inspirational time of Relay.
Funds raised at Relay For Life will enable the American Cancer Society to support local services and resources for cancer patients, as well as their families. Plus, funds support critical cancer research and community education programs designed to teach people how to reduce their risk of developing cancer.
The Relay For Life is not just a local event. In fact, there are 4,200 communities around the country that have held their own Relay, and 270 of those communities were in California. Last year was the first time Relay was held in Menlo Park and organizers hope it will be an annual event with many local people participating.
For information on starting your own team, or joining an existing team, call 650 854-5228, and you can also find more information at this Web address, www.acsevents.org/relay/ca/menlopark.