By Alicia Dziak
Everyone knows someone whose life has been affected by cancer, and as researchers across the country continue to work toward finding a cure, fundraising efforts become increasingly important.
On Saturday, June 9, Relay for Life, the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, returns to the Cattaraugus County Fairgrounds in Little Valley. While this event was held in both Ellicottville and Springville in the past, Little Valley is now the closest Relay event to both of these towns.
Relay is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in thousands of communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give their time and effort because they believe it’s time to take action against cancer. Relay is a team fundraising event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each event is 6-24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.
“Community members have formed teams and will be fundraising during the event, raising money to assist people facing a cancer diagnosis and providing funds for cancer research,” explained Priscilla Snider, even co-chair. The American Cancer Society has a number of programs that assist with patient care and family care, and Snider noted that funds raised assist with these programs as well.
The Luminary Ceremony is one of the most moving events of Relay For Life. Luminaries are created to celebrate cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their lives. The luminaries are illuminated around 9 p.m.
Other activities will be held throughout the day, such as barn wood painting with Rebecca Szpaicher and Zumba.
Relay for Life begins at 11 a.m. with an Opening Ceremony featuring Honorary Survivors, one of whom is Jim Croft of Springville, who Snider met at Holiday Valley over the winter.
Snider emphasized that Relay is a public event, and that while some teams have been busy fundraising, people can still show up and register the day of. “It really is just a great family event,” she said.
Those interested in volunteering at Relay are asked to call Snider at (716) 790-0473.
Learn more at RelayForLife.org/theFairgroundsNY and visit the event’s Facebook page (Relay For Life of The Fairgrounds) for more.