By TAYLOR HARTZ
More than 700 Southington residents have signed up to participate in this year’s Relay for Life to help fundraise for the American Cancer Society.
This year’s event will take place from June 3 to June 4 on the Southington High School athletic field. Walkers will begin at 4 p.m. on Friday, and the event will wrap up by 2 p.m. on Saturday. Officials for the relay expect over 1,000 participants for the 19th year of the annual relay.
“I think it’s important for people to be involved because I’ve never met a person who isn’t one degree away from cancer or somehow effected by cancer,” said Michele Burge, community manager for the Southington relay. More than 6,000 relay events take place each year, with over 4 million participants.
The annual relay includes a traditional survivor and caregiver walk at 7 p.m. on Friday, followed by a complimentary dinner. A luminaria ceremony will also take place on Friday night where candles will be lit in honor and memory of those who have battled cancer.
“They get to celebrate; they get to remember,” said Burge, “And they also get to help us raise money to end this fight against cancer.”
All funds are used by the American Cancer Society to finance research, provide free information and services for individuals with cancer, and to support prevention and education programs. In 2015, the local relay raised $110,000.
There is no registration fee for the event, and anyone is welcome to participate as an individual or as part of a team. This year, 10×10 pop up tents will be allowed on the artificial turf field for each relay at the event.
Burge said the Southington community has been especially supportive of the event this year. On May 21, the relay committee held a “Paint the Town Purple” event, where they visited businesses on Queen Street, in downtown Plantsville, and on the Meriden-Waterbury Turnpike. Burge said they distributed flyers, save-the-date cards, and purple ribbons to local vendors.
“There wasn’t a single business that turned us away,” said Burge. “We’ve had such a great response this year.”
In addition to participants for the relay, local businesses and organizations are encouraged to sponsor the event in exchange for advertisement on a sign on the track. Sponsorships begin at $250. Those interested can contact Burge at Michele.email@example.com
Several local organizations, including the DePaolo Foundation, the Calvanese Foundation, and the Hospital of Central Connecticut, have been major donors this year.
Registration can still be done online at relayforlife.org/southingtonct, or can be done in person the day of the relay.
The relay will begin at 4 p.m. on the varsity track at 720 Pleasant St., Southington. For information on the days of the event, contact Joyce McAloon at (860) 302-0519.