SOMERS, N.Y. – Somers’ 2013 Relay for Life, an all-night event dedicated to cancer victims and survivors, kicks off Monday evening at Somerfield’s Restaurant.
Every year, more than 4 million people in towns all over America and countries all over the world participate in the fundraiser, which was developed by the American Cancer Society. Volunteers assemble in teams and run, walk or jog around a track, fulfilling pledges made to their sponsors.
There are special moments and periods of entertainment along with way. Refreshments are available. Many people stay through the night, bringing tents, sleeping bags and various forms of sustenance.
This will be Somers’ third year as a participant. In 2011, the town raised $110,000 with 39 teams and won the Rookie Award. Last year, 52 teams raised $107,000. So far this year, six teams totaling 14 people have raised $2,395.
“We’re excited to be kicking off,” said Katie Hobday, the Cancer Society's regional representative. “Last year, there were about 600 people participating, plus all their friends and relatives cheering them on.”
Relay for Life will take place in the field at Somers Middle School on May 31. It begins with a Survivors’ Dinner at 5:30 p.m. The Relay itself begins at 7 p.m. and continues until 7 a.m. the following day.
One of the evening’s highlights occurs at 10 p.m., when the site is illuminated by hundreds of luminarias, in tribute to cancer victims. “It’s a very moving and emotional experience,” said Hobday.
“This year’s concentration is Health and Wellness,” said Somers Supervisor Mary Beth Murphy, a co-organizer with Somers resident Carol Cirieco. “The three lifestyle factors most associated with cancer are diet, smoking and alcohol, so we’re promoting healthy lifestyles.”
“We have more local companies interested this year,” said Cirieco. “We have a lot of returning teams. But we’ve never had one from Heritage Hills and we’d love to get one."
Participants from neighboring towns, such as North Salem, are invited to join in. All towns have cancer victims and survivors, though not every town has a Relay for Life.
For more information, contact Cirieco at 914-262-3204 or at email@example.com.
Everyone is invited to attend Monday night’s kick-off. It begins at 7 p.m. at Somerfield’s in the Somerstowne Shopping Center, 325 Route 100, Somers.