CALAIS, Maine — The area’s fifth annual Relay for Life to help raise money for the American Cancer Society begins tonight at the Washington County Community College.
The opening ceremony begins at 6 p.m., followed by the cancer survivors lap around the track at the college.
Teams of local volunteers, including patients, medical support staff, local businesses, civic and other organizations, and community volunteers, then will walk through the night to celebrate, remember and join together raising money for the fight against cancer.
The event is one of 23 Relay for Life happenings planned throughout Maine.
Teams comprising eight to 15 people raise funds before the relay. So far, the Washington County contingent has raised more than $8,000, but more is expected. To date, 18 teams have signed up.
Last year, the participants raised more than $35,000. Because of the economy, organizers have not set a goal this year, but the money raised will go to the American Cancer Society’s local patient services and programs, advocacy, community education and cancer research.
At 9.30 p.m. area residents will illuminate the night with many luminaria, candle lanterns, in honor of cancer survivors or in memory of those lost to the disease.
This year, instead of placing the candle in sand in a brown paper bag, Washington County organizers are asking people to bring a canned-food item and the candle will be placed on top of that. Afterward, the food items will be donated to the local food pantry, relay organizer Marianne Moore said Thursday.
Last year, there were 1,014 luminaries around the track. They hope to have more this year.
Although the weather for the event looks less than sunny, Moore said that the Relay For Life will be held rain or shine. Moore said that Johnson’s True Value Hardware on North Street has donated some tents.
For more information about cancer, or about purchasing a luminaria, forming a team, or walking in the survivors lap, contact the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, or online at www.relayforlife.org/washingtonme.