Fight cancer at Centennial Park July 31

The Second Annual Relay for Life of Wellington kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday July 31 with an opening ceremony at Centennial Park, 3815 Harrison Avenue in downtown Wellington. The opening ceremony celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer. It is intended to inspire hope by sharing recent accomplishments and progress and to remind everyone that while this battle is being won, fighting cancer is a year-round priority.

Upbeat music will play as cancer survivors take the first lap around the track cheered on by the other participants. Then, along with the people they helped, if present, caregivers will walk a lap to be honored for their support.

At 9 p.m. a luminaria ceremony will remember people lost to cancer, those currently battling the disease and those who have fought it in the past. This is an opportunity for people to work through grief and find hope.

After participants have run and walked through the night, a closing ceremony at 6 a.m. August 1 will remember lives lost and celebrate commitment through participation to fighting back against this disease over the coming year.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life began in Tacoma, Washington driven by colorectal surgeon and marathon runner Dr. Gordy Klatt who decided he wanted to raise money to fight the disease by doing something he loved. In May 1985 he spent 24 hours running and walking 83 miles circling the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound, accompanied by friends who paid $25 to run or walk for 30 minutes with him. That year 300 people cheered him on and raised $27,000.

In 1986, 19 teams took part in the first team relay event and raised $33,000. The spirit that prevailed on the track and in the tents lining it in Baker Stadium that night led to an event that has become national.

In Wellington relay teams camp out at Centennial Park and take turns walking or running around a track. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times. The scene will be enlivened by games and activities suitable for the whole family.

It’s too late to sign up for this year’s event but come to Centennial Park, cheer on your friends and neighbors and join in the ongoing fight against cancer at an inspirational local event.

For more information see www.relayforlife.org/wellingtonco

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