Giving Back: St. John Relay for Life brings cancer fight home
Published 12:14 am Wednesday, April 29, 2015
LAPLACE — Clear skies and fundraising fun are on the forecast for Saturday as St. John the Baptist Parish’s Relay for Life is set to offer food, activities and music in an effort to raise money to fight cancer and raise awareness of cancer prevention and treatment.
Each year, more than 4 million people in over 20 countries participate in their local Relay For Life, which is American Cancer Society’s signature activity. Local Relay days offer community members an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer, and on Saturday from 2 p.m. until midnight dozens of teams of community members will take over Joe Keller Memorial Stadium, located at 400 Ory Drive in LaPlace, for this community’s annual turn at the fun.
Michelle Cazenave, Relay’s 2015 People Lead, said this year’s theme is “Searching the World for a Cure,” adding nearly $30,000 has been raised so far by teams participating in the fundraiser.
Cazenave said teams hold fundraisers all year long in anticipation of Relay for Life, adding planning for each Relay starts the summer after the spring event, thus making the endeavor a year-around effort.
“I have a few family members that were diagnosed with cancer,” Cazenave said of her motivation to participate in Relay for Life. “Thankfully no one in my family has died of cancer. The community as a whole is so impacted by cancer that it’s important … to fuel cancer research.”
Cazenave said she hopes continued research efforts will make it possible for there to come a day when no one will hear three words that have affected millions of people — “you have cancer.”
Admission to Relay for Life is free, but food and items will be for sale. A silent auction will also be held, offering patrons the chance to bid on various items. Games, contests and ceremonies will take place throughout the day, and all money raised will be turned over to the American Cancer Society.
According to the organization’s website, the American Cancer Society uses Relay donations to fund research, provide free lodging to cancer patients, fund clinical trials and offer free 24-hour cancer support via phone.
St. John Parish’s Relay for Life Event Lead Randie Bailey said one of the most popular, and beautiful, events taking place during Relay is the Luminary Ceremony.
Taking place from 8-9 p.m. Saturday, the ceremony will feature luminaria, paper bags containing votive candles, being lit after dark.
Each luminaria can be personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Luminaria can also be dedicated in support of a Relay participant.
“The ceremony is to remember those we’ve lost to cancer and honor those who are still fighting,” Bailey said.
Cazenave said luminaria can be purchased at the event Saturday, but it is preferred they be bought ahead of time at relayforlife.org/stjohnla.
With the popular band Top Cats taking the stage from 6-7 p.m., Bailey said she is certain this year’s Relay for Life will be the most fun and well-organized Relay the parish has seen, adding the committee has worked non-stop to ensure a successful and fun day.
For more information on St. John Parish’s Relay for Life, visit facebook.com/RFLStJohnLA or relayforlife.org/stjohnla.