To raise money for the fight against cancer, Waterford Township is hosting the Relay For Life of Waterford event on Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12 at Pierce Middle School.
Opening ceremonies begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday and the event concludes with a ceremony at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
The event is free of charge and open to the public. Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.
“Our mission is to help people get well, stay well, find cures and fight back,” said American Cancer Society Community Representative Holly Soranno.
Relay for Life events are the society’s signature fundraisers. Waterford relay participants, divided into teams, take turns walking the middle school track during a 24-hour period because “cancer never sleeps.”
Currently there are 32 teams signed up for the event — or 750 participants.
Teams conduct their own mini-fundraisers leading up to the main event. During Relay For Life, a variety of food and crafts will be sold to help reach the ultimate goal of raising $120,000.
Bands, individual musicians, dance troupes and clowns are scheduled to perform.
After the opening ceremony, cancer survivors take the first lap around the track together and help everyone celebrate their victories over cancer. A complimentary reception sponsored by Bob Evans follows, and each participant receives a free T-shirt.
On Saturday at 10 p.m., the event turns into a time of reflection during the Luminaria Ceremony, which honors those who have been touched by cancer and helps people remember loved ones lost to the disease. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence.
In conjunction with the event, people can enroll in a Cancer Prevention Study. The American Cancer Society’s Epidemiology Research Program is inviting men and women between the ages of 30 and 65 years who have no personal history of cancer to join the study. The ultimate goal is to enroll 250,000 adults from various racial and ethnic backgrounds from across the U.S. to find links to cancer like environmental factors and genetics, as well as looking for ways to prevent the disease.
Those interested in participating in the study enroll between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday. After answering a brief questionnaire and a waist measurement, he/she will donate a small sample of blood. About a week later, a longer survey must be completed. Once a year for between 20 and 30 years, the participant completes another survey.
“People who are willing to make a long-term commitment to the study will help to fight against cancer and find a cure,” Soranno said. “Research today makes for a cancer-free tomorrow.”
Pierce Middle School is located at 5145 Hatchery Road in Waterford.