More of a community event than only for survivors of cancer, the Honesdale Relay for Life this Saturday is meant to raise awareness while being fun at the same time.

More of a community event than only for survivors of cancer, the Honesdale Relay for Life this Saturday is meant to raise awareness while being fun at the same time.
Tonyehn Verkitus, who is with the Wayne Unit of the American Cancer Society, also noted the emphasis is not on fund raising, though this is a major fund raiser for cancer research and expenses for local services offered to the public. “It’s more about awareness and support,” she said, and the Cancer Society encourages anyone interested to come out.
The 6th annual event will be held at the Wayne Highlands Athletic Complex off Terrace Street, above Honesdale High School. The event lasts from 7 a.m. and goes around the clock to 7 a.m. Sunday. In that time, people will be walking around the track, in support of cancer victims. Teams raise money either through fund raising activities or sponsorships and walk as a group; individuals may do the same. Some walk in memory of someone who died from cancer; others celebrate healing. Cancer survivors, caregivers and anyone interested is welcome to walk, as many laps and at any time they wish.
Relays start at 10 a.m. New teams this year include Brian’s Brats, Team Dream Big, Laps for Linda, Pink Panthers and Dean’s Golfers. Returning teams are Chick-a-dees, Bote Brigade, Kids Fighting Cancer, Banking on a Cure, Honesdale National Bank, C.A.T.S. Club, Class of ‘66 and Rockin’ Robins.
“Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for our community to come together in the fight against cancer,” said Verkitus. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer), which serves as a reminder that our community is not immune to this disease and we can actually help our friends, families and neighbors that have been touched by cancer.”
The theme this year is “Carnival for the Cure” and a carnival-like atmosphere is planned with many family-oriented activities. There will be arts and crafts for children and adults, games, music, food concessions, and at dusk, a display of fireworks. They have added a yard sale this year.
The Close Encounters Motorcycle Freestyling Stunting Team will perform at 2 p.m.
The Survivor’s Ceremony takes place between 6 and 9 p.m. The “Survivor’s Dinner,” for cancer survivors and caregivers, is at 6 p.m. under a tent, and is being provided by Elegante’s Restaurant.
The public is invited to attend the Ceremony of Hope, or luminaria ceremony, which will take place after sundown. To honor the community's cancer survivors and to remember those lost to the disease, survivors will circle the track rimmed with glowing luminarias while the names of survivors and those lost to the disease are read aloud.
Luminaria candles are placed in bags which have attached a name of someone who was touched by cancer. A luminaria may be purchased for a donation, which is usually $10, at the Wayne Unit offices, 100-4th St., Suites 9 & 12, Honesdale. Those who cannot be present for the ceremony can buy one in advance and it will be placed for them.
Annually, the Honesdale Relay for Life has raised an average of $30,000, said Verkitus. The Wayne Pike Unit also has the Lake Region Relay for Life which was held at Wallenpaupack Area High School’s track, and the Delaware Valley Relay for Life in the Milford area. Altogether, the three events raise around $150,000 to $175,000 a year. The Lake Region event, which is older, raised $51,000 this year. Seventy five percent of the proceeds stay to support the services of the local Unit. The first Relay for Life was held in 1985, in Tacoma, Washington.
For more information, call the Wayne Unit at (570)383-4701 or see . See for more information on the American Cancer Society.