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Weston Hosts First Relay for Life

Relay for Life teams walk around a track overnight to represent that cancer doesn’t sleep.

When dusk falls, the track transforms. Decorated bags, representing those we have lost to cancer or those we encourage to keep up the fight, line the track. A silent walk around the track, lit only by illuminated bags, reminds us why we are all here.

This year marks the first Relay for Life of Weston/Westport. Relay for Life is a 15-hour event in Weston to celebrate the fundraising efforts of participants and teams. The event will start at Weston High School on May 13 at 7 p.m. and run until May 14 at 7 a.m.

At Relay, each team delegates team members to walk the WHS track in shifts. The goal of each team is to always have one team member walking the track.

Relay boasts many fun activities to do all night. Whether it is team fundraisers or Zumba at 4 a.m., there is always something to do. Another very important aspect of Relay is the Survivor Dinner, where each registered survivor and their caregiver are treated to a special banquet solely to appreciate the battle they have fought.

Throughout Relay, there are ceremonies representing a different aspect of our fight against cancer. First, the opening ceremony is when Relay officially begins. This ceremony is especially moving due to the addition of the survivors, who christen the track with the first walk. At midnight, we need a little pep up, and the fight back ceremony does just that. This high-energy ceremony shows us how we, as a town, can fight back and help eliminate cancer. As the sun peaks over the dewy hills early in the morning, we wrap Relay up with the final ceremony, where we thank everyone and give out fun prizes for different team accolades.

Relay is truly something special and unites us all for one night. When I was only 8 years old, I lost my father to lung cancer. I never got to grow up with a father because cancer took him away. When I was older, I heard about Relay for Life, and it turns out Relay is the best thing to come to my life. Now, not only am I on the planning committee for two Relays, but it allows me to help others and hopefully see an end to cancer in my life. Cancer has touched everyone and everyone has a story like mine, whether it is our aunt, uncle, mother, father, grandparents or a friend.

To date, we have 25 teams, 145 participants and $7,261 raised. Top teams are Kids for a Cure, Sole Sister and Cancer Crashers. There are more than 60 Relay for Life events taking place in Connecticut. For more information, call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org. For information on how to become involved, contact Meghan McCaffrey at (203) 563-0740, ext. 1530, or email meghan.mccaffrey@cancer.org.

Have you lost a friend or family member to cancer? Do you know a cancer survivor? Leave your comments below or email your story to shenry@mainstreetconnect.us.

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