Locals turn out in force for Relay for Life: Raise $100K for cancer research and education

More than 1,200 participants circled the track at Southington High School last weekend during the annual Relay for Life event. The 2016 relay allowed participants back onto the field for the annual fundraiser. This year’s event raised over $100,000 for cancer research. (Photos by Tammi Naudus)

More than 1,200 participants circled the track at Southington High School last weekend during the annual Relay for Life event. The 2016 relay allowed participants back onto the field for the annual fundraiser. This year’s event raised over $100,000 for cancer research. (Photos by Tammi Naudus)

By TAYLOR HARTZ
STAFF WRITER

Cancer survivors, fighters, and their supporters gathered at Southington High School (SHS) this weekend to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The 19th annual Relay for Life drew over 1,200 Southington residents, raising more than $100,000 for cancer research.

The event was held on the SHS athletic field on June 3-4, with 300 more participants attending than last year.

Michele Burge, community manager for the Southington relay, said the relay’s “whole event leadership team was extremely happy with the turnout, and the spirit of ‘Relay’ was definitely in the event.”

Participants were invited to walk the track as individuals or in teams, while tents set up on the turf offered activities, crafts, entertainment, and fundraising. Surrounding the track were hundreds of white bags, some with names written on them, holding candles that were lit for the luminaria event on Friday evening.

When the candles were lit, survivors and their caretakers were invited to take a lap around the track, as spectators showed their support for their fight.

In addition to 1,200 participants, Burge said the community support was key to their success this year. Representatives from the local Target and Home Depot provided generous donations and dedicated their time volunteering at the luminaria and registration tents. The Southington Fire Department stayed the weekend to show their support and helped event volunteers with setting up for the big crowds.

While the relay weekend raised over $100,000, Burge said they still have a lot of fundraising left to do. All funds are donated to the American Cancer Society to finance research, provide free information and services for individuals with cancer, and to support prevention and education programs.

“Cancer doesn’t stop after Relay is over, so our community definitely doesn’t stop fighting back to end cancer after Relay is over either,” said Burge.

Photos by TAMMI NAUDUS

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