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17th annual Massena/Louisville Relay For Life next weekend

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LOUISVILLE - More than 300 people from the Massena and Louisville area will be coming together next weekend to raise money for the American Cancer Society when the Louisville Arena hosts the 17th annual Massena/Louisville Relay For Life event.

Relay for Life volunteer Joanne H. Cameron said the event, which was originally held in Massena for the first dozen plus years, switched to Louisville during the district’s capital project when their track and turf field was being installed.

“We’ve had it in Louisville for three or four years now,” she said. “The town of Louisville has been great for this event.”

Ms. Cameron, who serves as town clerk in Louisville, said the entire town crew does a fantastic job preparing for the event.

“Dewey, Vern and Larry go out of their way to ensure that everything is the best it can be for Relay for Life,” she said, referring to Arena Supervisor Dewey LaValley, Highway Superintendent Vern Fenlong and Town Supervisor Larry R. Legault.

This year’s event already includes 31 teams with 296 participants who have raised $26,942 to date, according to the event’s website.

“It’s a great way for the community to come together and support a great cause that has hit home for too many people, young and old,” Ms. Cameron said.

While participants are encouraged to join a team, register in advance and spend the entire night at the event, Ms. Cameron said that is not necessary.

“People can show up and register that day,” she said. “They don’t have to be part of a team, they can just show up and walk the track.”

The Massena/Louisville Relay For Life event is the region’s oldest, but Ms. Cameron said it’s success helped to generate additional walks in Malone, Ogdensburg and Potsdam.

“There were a few years in Massena when it was huge, but I consider it a more intimate event now,” Ms. Cameron said, detailing how the smaller walk truly is a community event.

“For the survivor’s lap, if there are people who cannot walk the lap, we have some people who donate their golf carts for the weekend,” she said.

The survivor’s lap is traditionally the first lap held each year. That lap is followed by a special caregiver’s lap, with the first two laps kicking off at 6:30 p.m.

Those laps are followed throughout the evening by other special laps and events like a 50’s trivia lap including a best 50’s costume contest, a crazy hat lap, poker laps and even a scavenger hunt.

The event kicks off with opening ceremonies at 6 p.m. June 1 and continues until 6 a.m. June 2, with closing ceremonies at 5:45 a.m.

“It’s a way to raise money, but it’s also about showing support for people who have it right now and people who have beaten it.”

One popular way people support those battling cancer and remember those who lost their fight with the disease is through luminaries.

A luminary is a decorated paper bag with an electric candle inside that may be decorated and purchased either in honor of or in memory of someone.

To purchase a luminary, contact Jan Murphy at 769-5416 or via email at dtmurph15@twcny.rr.com.

The luminaries are then lit, remaining so for several laps of silence and darkness from 10 to 11 p.m., with only the luminaries lighting the way.

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