Wareham's Relay For Life gears up in fight against cancer
The Wareham and Plymouth Relay For Life events will join forces this year for the first time as part of a wave of consolidations across the country.
Organizers believe while the events do well independently, together they can accomplish much more for cancer research.
“By not spending money to host two different events, we can raise more money for the American Cancer Society,” said Tricia Hackett.
Hackett has served as Wareham’s event lead for the past six years.
She became involved 16 years after her grandfather passed away from cancer. She said her first year participating was an eye-opening experience.
“It was crazy to see how many people around you are affected by cancer that you just didn’t know,” she said. “People were walking the survivor lap and I was taken aback by how many people I knew had beaten the disease.”
She noted for the first time this year’s event won’t be a 24-hour affair, instead lasting from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday, June 23, at the Wareham Middle School track on Viking Drive.
The idea is to attract more participants and save money on overhead costs, such as rental fees, said Hackett.
The consolidation was suggested by the American Cancer Society, which sponsors Relay For Life, and is part of an effort to have larger events in fewer towns. Funds raised help the American Cancer Society provide support for people with the disease and pay for cancer research.
The new event will officially be called Relay For Life Plymouth County South. Hackett said it will remain in Wareham due to the local event’s success and its available, low-cost track.
The merger follows a consolidation of the Wareham and Tri-Town Relay For Life events that happened two years ago. Last year, the Wareham event raised $45,000 for cancer research and support.
The theme for this year is County Fair for a Cure, in light of the combined, county wide event. Free and open the public, all are invited to come and check out the festivities.
Music, contests, themed-laps, a dinner for cancer survivors and more will be on tap, said Hackett. The dinner is free for survivors and will include food donated by area restaurants. Those interested in attending are asked to register beforehand online. At 9 p.m., the luminaria, which features candles lit in honor of cancer victims, will be held.
“We always want to make it fun, get people into it and get as many people involved as possible,” she said.
This year, eight brand new teams signed up, which is good news for the event, according to Hackett.
“That’s huge for us in this transition year,” she said.
In total, there are 29 teams, said Hackett. Teams will participate in a series of themed-laps.
That includes getting dressed up as super heroes, movie characters and much more. Hackett invited all to show up.
“It’s a lot of fun to come hang out with your neighbors and support a good cause,” said Hackett.
For more information on the Relay For Life, including a schedule of events or to register for the survivor dinner, visit http://main.ascevents.org and search for Plymouth County South Relay For Life.