County’s Relay For Life event Fri., Sat. in Belpre

For the 19th year, Belpre Civitan Park will host the Relay for Life of Washington County on Friday and Saturday at Civitan Park.

The event will begin at 4 p.m. Friday with setup and survivors will be welcomed at 5 p.m. with the Survivor’s Dinner, with a group photo at the gazebo at 6:45 p.m., said Chad Gardner, income development representative for the American Cancer Society.

The opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. and will be closely followed by the first “Victory Lap” walked by cancer survivors.

Between the dinner and opening ceremonies there will be games and photos.

The event is a way for former and current cancer patients to join with those who have lost a loved one or been affected by cancer, Gardner said.

The event will go overnight from Friday evening until noon Saturday with participants and team members joining in opening ceremonies, the survivor’s lap and entertainment.

“We will have activities going throughout the 18-hour event with a scavenger hunt right after the luminaria service,” Gardner said.

Games and inflatable toys will be in the park along with food and entertainment.

One of the most moving parts of the event is expected to be the luminaria service at 9:30 p.m. where those who lost their battles with cancer, those still struggling and those who have won will be honored with their names on luminaria bags along the walkway.

“For the second year we will be using new, reusable plastic purple and white luminaria,” Gardner said. “They are really fantastic.”

These luminaria are sponsored by Cawley and Peoples, Leavitt’s of Belpre and McClure-Schafer-Lankford funeral homes.

Participants of the event are family, friends and neighbors who have dealt with cancer themselves. Their involvement is proof of the progress that has reduced death rates, but also improved the quality of life following cancer treatment, say organizers.

Survivors are also invited to take part in the first lap at the close of opening ceremonies.

More than 60 teams from various businesses, organizations, churches and families will camp out at the park overnight as they take turns walking for the fight against cancer.

With more than $100,000 of the $179,000 goal already raised, Gardner said he expects the event to meet or exceed that amount.

“Going into the event, if we have between $90,000 and $100,000, we have a very good chance to meet the goal,” he said. “With more than $100,000 raised, we will likely meet it and then some.”

The funds raised enable the American Cancer Society to continue the fight against cancer through research, education, advocacy and patient services.

For more information call 1-800-ACS-OHIO or visit www.relayforlife.org