The community will gather next Saturday to continue the fight against cancer with the annual Relay For Life, which this year will be held at a new location with modified hours.
With hopes of encouraging more participation, Relay For Life organizers have moved the event to the Government Annex facility at 1400 Parker Road and changed the previously over-night event to a single day event beginning at 10 a.m. and ending at 10 p.m. Saturday, April 27.
The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life is a celebration of life held in communities across the nation each spring. The community gathering creates awareness about the need to raise money for cancer research.
Teams from schools, hospitals, churches, local businesses and civic organizations are formed to raise as much money to contribute to “the cure.”
Rockdale County's Relay for Life began as a 24-hour event 20 years ago and was first held at Rockdale High School and later relocated to the Georgia International Horse Park. Team participants walk around the track for the duration of the vent while ceremonies are held in honor and memory of those who have fought cancer.
"The Relay For Life of Rockdale event is the first ever community daytime Relay in North Georgia," Sara Hajhussein, the American Cancer Society Income Manger over Rockdale, said this week. "Over the course of the last 20 years, Rockdale has been essential in fundraising for the American Cancer Society.
"The money raised continues to fund research and provide services to patients, helping neighbors in our own community.
"Our relayers are teachers, nurses, and parents, the backbone of Rockdale- which is why this particular event is so special."
The event begins with an opening ceremony honoring survivors and caregivers taking the first lap known as the Celebration Walk as the crowd lines the track and cheers them on in celebration. At dusk, the luminary service is held as a bagpiper walks the track that is lined with luminary bags dedicated to loved ones lost and to those still fighting their battle with cancer. The bags are decorated with photographs, poetry, drawings or simply just a name. The luminary bags are then lit for all to see.
Teams conduct their own fundraising activities such as selling food, drinks, face painting and crafts throughout the 12-hour event. As of one week before the event, 39 local teams consisting of 371 participants have raised over $63,000 for the fight against cancer.
People of all ages are encouraged to attend the event Saturday as there will be a children’s play area complete with bouncy castle, snow cones, crafts and much more while entertainment provided by local school choirs, dance groups and individuals is scheduled throughout the day to keep the ‘Relay’ spirit alive.
The Rockdale “Relay for Life” is looking to encourage more people from the community to start their own team or join an existing local team. For more information on the event and teams, please visit www.relayforlife.org/rockdalega.