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Massena/Louisville Relay for Life kicks off Wednesday

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MASSENA - This year’s American Cancer Society Massena/Louisville Relay for Life will kick off at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Massena Meals on Wheels, East Hatfield Street, Massena.

The evening will include distribution of packets to team captains, snacks, a small luminaria ceremony and a survivor talk.

“It’s kind of like a small relay sort of thing,” Publicity Chair Denise M. Furnace said.

“The kick-off is a time for team captains to pick up their packets. They’ll have a survivor talk and a small luminaria ceremony. They announce their theme for the relay, which this year is “Sporting for a Cure,” she said. “It’s nice that everybody gets together.”

This year’s Relay for Life will be held from 6 p.m. June 7 to 6 a.m. June 8 at the Louisville Community Center, and Wednesday’s kickoff serves as a rally to launch the 2013 Relay for Life season. It also gives organizers an opportunity to educate participants on how their involvement benefits the American Cancer Society’s goal to save lives and create more birthdays for cancer survivors.

Teams don’t need to be formed by Wednesday night’s kickoff, according to Ms. Furnace.

“It’s a kickoff. They can be formed after,” she said.

Teams that want to join the Relay for Life can call 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.relayforlife.org.

The American Cancer Society Relay for Life is an overnight community celebration where individuals and teams camp out, picnic, dance, play games and take turns circling around a track “relay” style to raise funds and fight cancer.

It opens with cancer survivors leading the way around the track during the Survivor Lap, and a Caregiver Lap is also held to recognize those who have helped cancer patients.

As teams walk the track, luminarias light the field to recognize those who have survived cancer or remember those who lost their lives to the disease. A ceremony in which the names are read also highlights the event.

Relay for Life started in 1985 when one man circled a track for 24 hours and raised $27,000 in the process. Since then, the event has grown to more than 5,200 communities and more than 25 countries worldwide. Money raised through the local Relay for Life helps support American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patient services in St. Lawrence County.

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