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Relay for Life Coming to Lewisboro for First Time

LEWISBORO, N.Y. – There are more than 5,200 of them held throughout the United States every year with four million participants. It’s considered the largest non-profit activity in the world and this summer Lewisboro will be hosting one for the first time.

The Relay for Life, a cancer-prevention fundraiser, is a unique event that takes place overnight. The one is Lewisboro will be held June 22 to 23 at the John Jay High School track field. It will be the 14th Relay for Life event in Westchester County.

While not an actual American Cancer Society fundraiser – the Relay for Life is a community-driven event – the Cancer Society does lend its support and helps out where it can. Megan McGrady, a Relay for Life community representative for the American Cancer Society, explained how the events work.

“Ten to 15 people come together as a way to raise money,” she said. “The teams can be families, neighbors, businesses, and they raise the money before the event by getting people to donate. It’s not per mile or per lap.”

On the night of the event, each team is assigned an area where it set up camp. An opening ceremony, where participants celebrate survivors and caregivers, is held and survivors walk an opening lap. Caregivers then walk a lap with their survivors.

“There is food and entertainment and other activities throughout the night,” McGrady said “It’s a real energetic atmosphere.”

At sundown, the Relay for Life features a luminaire ceremony, where candles placed in paper bags are held by the participants who line the track with them. The candles can be purchase for $10 to honor someone who died of cancer.

“It’s an emotional time,” McGrady said “Then they take a silent lap. It really adds to the emotional aspect.”

One of the rules for the Relay is that one person from each team must be walking the track at all times. Additionally, each team has an on-sight fundraiser and continues to raise money, which goes toward the team total.

To get things started in Lewisboro, there will be a Relay for Life Kickoff event on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 7:30 p.m. at John Jay High School. This is an opportunity for those interested in participating to learn more and to sign up a team.

“This is a first-year event and we are proud to be part of the largest non-profit activity in the world,” Flynn said. “Cancer affects everybody and Katonah-Lewisboro is no exception. This is a wonderful way to get people together and fight back. There is a community social aspect to it. It’s an event that can pull all five hamlets in Lewisboro together.”

Flynn points out that you don’t have to be from the Town of Lewisboro or the Katonah-Lewisboro School District to get involved. Residents from neighboring communities are welcome to join in and sign up a team.

For more information, write to Megan McGrady at megan.mcgrady@cancer.org

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