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June 2012: Relay for Life Awareness Month

Relay for Life Event

Relay for Life Event. Photo provided by the American Cancer Society and used with written permission.

By Karen Vandoski
American Cancer Society
http://INrelayforlife.org/

Recognizing the importance of the American Cancer Society’s worldwide movement to end cancer, Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels proclaims the month of June as “Relay For Life Awareness Month” and invites all citizens to take notice.

Taking place now throughout the month of June and even into July, the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life events are fun-filled overnight fundraising events that unite communities in the world’s largest fight for more birthdays. At  the more than 130 Relay For Life events in Indiana and more than 5,200 across the country, communities come together to celebrate those who have survived cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back so one day no one has to face this disease that has taken so much.

“Cancer currently affects two in every five Hoosiers, so there is much work to be done to eliminate this disease. To that end, we’re thrilled that June has been designated Relay For Life month by Gov. Mitch Daniels, encouraging awareness of this incredible movement to end cancer,” said Brad Burk, American Cancer Society vice president for Indiana.

Residents from all over the state are invited to get involved with a Relay For Life in their area.

Although every Relay For Life event is different, there are certain traditions that all Relay events have in common, no matter where they are held.

•     Celebrate – The Survivors Lap

Relay events start with a Survivors Lap – a time when cancer survivors are invited to circle the track and lead everyone in a celebration of the victories we’ve achieved over cancer. The Survivors Lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are helping save lives – like those of each individual on the track. Because the effects of cancer reach far beyond just the person diagnosed, we also recognize and celebrate caregivers – those individuals who give their time, love, and support to friends, family, and neighbors who face cancer.

•     Remember – The Luminaria Ceremony

After dark, we honor people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one representing a person touched by cancer, and participants walk a silent lap. As people take time to remember, those who have walked alongside others battling cancer can grieve and find healing.

•     Fight Back – The Fight Back Ceremony

During the Fight Back Ceremony, participants make a commitment to take action to save lives. That personal commitment may be to do something as simple as getting a screening test, to convince a loved one to quit smoking, or to raise additional funds to fight the disease.

In addition to June being declared Relay For Life Awareness Month, this Sunday, June 3 also marks the 25th annual National Cancer Survivors Day, a day set aside to honor the more than 12 million cancer survivors living in the U.S. today.  The American Cancer Society invites cancer survivors to any one of the Relay For Life events taking place this weekend or throughout the summer to celebrate their survivorship.

Find more information on participating in a Relay For Life event near you at RelayForLife.org or by calling 1-800-227-2345. You’ll learn how to:

•     Join or start a team

•     Find a Relay For Life event in your community

•     Make a donation to someone you know (1 in every 100 Americans is a participant!)

To see a map view of the more than 130 Relay For Life events taking place throughout Indiana, visit http://INrelayforlife.org/. To see the entire Relay For Life Awareness Month proclamation, visit http://indianacancernews.org/.

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