The Daviess County Relay for Life has been a part of the community for over 25 years. And, with sixteen teams participating this year, American Cancer Society’s Senior Community Development Manager Anna Way said it is sure to be another great event.
“This event brings the community together,” Way said. “Everyone is there for the same reason –- to honor someone and raise money to save lives.”
The Daviess and McLean County Relay for Life walk will take place 2-10 p.m. June 8 along the Owensboro Riverfront at Smothers Park.
Relay teams will create tents decorated after classic board games to coincide with this year’s theme, “In It to Win It: Cancer’s Not a Game.”
“We have some teams doing Scrabble, some teams doing costumes,” Way said. “The fun part is seeing all the different campsites decorated along with the theme each year.”
The Daviess and McLean County walk is one of over 2,500 relay events across the country. The Relay for Life coordinators want those going through cancer and their caregivers to know that they are not alone and that cancer is a battle best fought together.
“We have our kick-off at 2 p.m. and then we will have a special recognition lap for our survivors and then the next lap, the caregivers will join them,” Way said. “We then have our team lap where we recognize all of our teams. We have food and games and it’s a really fun event.”
The connections and support systems are what shine at this event. Year after year, teams raise money and walk to support cancer research, celebrate survivors and honor those that have lost their battle.
“When it gets dark, we have our luminaria ceremony which is very moving,” Way said. “We have jars this year that will have ‘in honor of’ that will be lit and then we have our luminaria that we light and release that honors every life touched by cancer. It’s one of the best parts of the whole day.”
While Daviess County Relay for Life has been in existence for 25 years, the original inspiration for the event started 34 years ago on the other side of the country.
“Relay for Life started in 1985 in Tacoma, Washington, so it is an established event known across the country,” Way said. “I have a volunteer that has been involved since day one in Daviess County and he’s a cancer survivor. He’s always there.”
In order keep an event that’s been in the community for almost three decades exciting and fresh, Way said the organization tries new ideas each year and draws from the connection the participants have with the walk.
“I’ve been involved for over 23 years,” Way said. “Every year we have a different theme and add new activities. It’s not the same thing year after year. The ones that are involved are in it for the right reasons. They’ve lost loved ones or honoring loved ones and it’s very near to their hearts.”
The American Cancer Society is still accepting teams for this year’s walk. You can find the Daviess and McLean event and register your team at www.relayforlife.org. Donations are also accepted on the site.