Relay For Life 2013

Last Saturday I spent an amazing day at the Relay For Life event in Elk Grove. The American Cancer Society event is designed to remember those who have been taken by cancer, honor those who are currently battling cancer as well as survivors, to show support and appreciation for the many caretakers who have walked the journey with one of the former, and, of course, to raise money with the goal of one day eliminating cancer forever.

From the Relay web site: At Relay For Life events, communities across the globe come together to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has already taken too much. The funds you raise truly make a difference in the fight against cancer – just ask one of the nearly 14 million cancer survivors who will celebrate another birthday this year!

Relay teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park, or fairground. Relay events are up to 24 hours in length and, because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times.

Picture of cancer survivors Mark Arsenault & Karen Penfold at Relay For LifePerhaps the two most powerful and meaningful moments for me were the Survivors Lap and the Luminaria Ceremony. The Survivors Lap is the first lap around the track, which is reserved for cancer survivors and their caretakers. Because I’m a cancer survivor, I was invited to participate, which I gladly did. In the evening, the Luminaria Ceremony honors those who are no longer with us. Candles are lit and placed inside small white paper bags, which are placed all around the track. There was a letter read by a survivor, a beautiful song sung by a friend of mine, Christie Fleeman, and a video played to honor a number of cancer warriors who are no longer with us. Then all of us at the event walked around the track in silence in rememberance of those people.

Mark Arsenault and City Elk Grove Vice Mayor Steve Detrick at Relay For Life 2013 Elk GroveThere was an amazing show of support from the community, local businesses, and the Elk Grove City Council. So many people coming together – almost all of whom whose lives have been touched by cancer – to help raise awareness and raise money for a cure.

At last count, 58 teams and 635 participants have raised $62,604.57 just in Ek Grove alone! The money raised at the annual event goes directly to help those who are battling cancer and to help fund a cure. Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to put the event together and to everyone who donated to a participant.

Picture of luminaria lining the walk at Relay For Life 2013For more information about Relay For Life go to I encourage you to get involved. To join my team or to make a donation, visit my Relay For Life page. I’d love to see you at next year’s event!


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