Sunday, Dec. 10, 2023 |
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HANAPEPE — It’s not just the social gathering of the year, like the county fair, where you see people you haven’t seen in a year or years.
It’s also a time to remember those we lost to cancer and to honor those who are survivors and fighters of the disease.
The American Cancer Society Relay For Life, Part 1, starts today at Hanapepe Stadium, with nearly 60 teams participating, most them camping overnight inside the stadium.
The reason it’s “Part 1” is that a second event — the Kaua‘i North Shore Relay For Life — is set for the weekend of June 27 and 28 at Waioli Park in Hanalei.
This weekend in Hanapepe, in addition to nonstop activities, educational opportunities, live entertainment, a variety of food for sale by the teams, and other planned and unplanned events, cancer survivors are again encouraged to come forward, get a T-shirt, a gourmet dinner, and the recognition they deserve by taking the ceremonial first lap, opening up the walking portion of the Relay and everything that follows.
Ringing around the track will be thunderous applause from team members who are not survivors or caregivers themselves, but who have, likely, somehow been impacted by cancer on the island.
2009 marks the 25th anniversary of the first Relay For Life, which was a one-man show in the Pacific Northwest that has grown into an international phenomenon and huge fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society.
“We have to remember the reason we Relay, which is for funds to find a cure for cancer, and to honor cancer patients, survivors and caregivers,” said local ACS officials, who hope at least 150 patients and survivors participate in the event.
Survivors and fighters are encouraged to arrive at Hanapepe Stadium by 5 p.m. to sign in, see exhibits, and pick up their gifts. The celebratory first lap is at 6 p.m. Dinner and the candle-lighting and luminaria-lighting ceremonies will take place at nightfall.
The Starlighters provide music at 6:30 p.m., and there are cooking demonstrations, healthy-eating activities, guided tours of a giant, inflatable colon, exercise seminars, pledges to keep vehicles and homes tobacco-free, and other activities.
Members of the Produce Patrol will be visiting campsites, looking for signs of healthy eating and handing out forms qualifying healthy campers for drawings for prizes.
There will be places for advocacy, where people can tell elected officials why they should help fund cancer research and volunteers will be visiting campsites to talk to men folk about their screenings and health choices. Those responding will also be eligible for door prizes.
Relay For Life is the nationwide signature event of the ACS. Proceeds benefit Kaua‘i families and prevention programs.
For more information, call 246-0695.
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