The Relay for Life season is upon us. Let the walking, fund-raising, fellowship and all-around good fun begin.
Columbiana County's relay season kicks off today. The East Liverpool American Cancer Society Relay for Life, will begin with opening ceremonies at 5:45 p.m. today at the Mangano Track and Field at East Liverpool High School. The Cancer Survivors walk will take place at 6 p.m. and the Luminaria Ceremony will be held around 9:30 p.m.
The relay will include a mix of live music, games for all ages and other activities for participants to enjoy when it's not their turn to walk around the track. The event is a great way to celebrate the lives being saved from cancer and to remember the lives lost. It will conclude at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The following weekend, June 15-16, the walking will commence at Waterworth Memorial Park in Salem. with opening ceremonies at 5:45 p.m. Friday, June 15.
Then next month, the Columbiana area relay will begin at 5:45 p.m. July 6 at the Crestview football field.
The ultimate goal of all the relays is the fight against cancer, and that's especially important in our area, which continues to have some of the highest rates of cancer in the nation.
The relays are culmination of the efforts of hundreds of volunteers who give of themselves in an effort to help family members, friends and even people they've never met in the fight against cancer. Teams camp out and walk through the night, raising funds for every mile walked. The relays offer informal, fun and emotional activities, to be sure.
Our area relays also feature survivors taking the opening lap, bringing hope to those suffering with cancer, and those who lost their fight to the disease are memorialized.
Through the work of the Relay for Life programs, money is raised to help provide services for cancer patients and their families.
The relays also serve as a reminder that we must continue to do all we can to promote healthy living, early prevention and support the medical advances and researchers who are, as the cancer society motto goes, trying to create a world with more birthdays.
The ACS says the Relay for Life "represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and that one day cancer will be eliminated."
We must also thank the thousands of area pupils and students, teachers and school administrators who have held relay events through the school year, all in an effort to raise funds for cancer research. Without the schools' assistance, goals could not be reached.
The Relay for Life program continues to be a beacon of hope for so many in our area. So remember, even a small contribution allows hope to continue in the fight against cancer.