The tenth Newtown Relay For Life is just hours away and community spirit around the landmark event continues to build around town. The public event, which helps raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society (ACS), has taken its place alongside the Labor Day Parade, holiday tree lightings, and Halloween on Main Street as one of the biggest community-building events of the year.
Returning to Newtown High School’s Blue & Gold Stadium after several years at Fairfield Hills, the free, 12-hour nonsporting relay is expected to draw thousands of residents during the overnight of May 31 to June 1, many of whom have faced cancer themselves, or who have supported loved ones, friends, and family members through the fight.
Event Chairman Chris Farrington, a 13-year survivor, said the tenth such event in town will have a “party,” theme — not a birthday party, but other types of celebrations.
Mr Farrington said the idea of staging a memorial slide show of cancer survivors and those loved ones lost because of logistical challenges has been replaced by a planned “Wall of Honor” and “Wall of Remembrance.”
“We will be decorating two 4-by-eight-foot signs with copies of photos,” he said. “We invite [visitors and participants] to bring a copy of your favorite photo of your loved one to put on the Wall of Honor or the Wall of Remembrance. The Wall of Honor will be for photos of loved ones who are Survivors and the Wall of Remembrance will be for photos of loved ones that are no longer with us.”
Mr Farrington said he is encouraging participants to write messages of love on these walls.
“This will be in place of the Luminaria Slide Show. Please note due to weather elements we recommend that you do not post your only copy of your photo,” he added. “If you would like to preserve your copy of your photo(s) please remove your photo(s) from the ‘walls’ by the end of Relay by 6 am, June 1.”
An aspiring recording artist whose first single is available on iTunes is committing his talents to help lift the spirits of attendees at this year’s Newtown Relay For Life. Gregori Lukas, also an accomplished dancer and actor, has committed to donating all April and May proceeds from the sale of his single, “Stay,” on the iTunes digital music service to benefit this year’s tenth Newtown Relay.
He will also be providing live entertainment at the event.
Besides the leadership of Mr Farrington and a dedicated core group of committee volunteers and other support personnel, The American Cancer Society has selected Mary Ann Jacob to serve as honorary chair and Jim Zarifis as honorary caregiver for this year’s Relay.
He also invites Newtown residents to this year’s survivor and caregiver reception, which will be held the day of the Relay Event from 5 to 6 pm under the tent adjacent to the snack bar at the Newtown High School stadium.
The Relay for Life Event Planning Committee is still looking for a few more volunteers for the day of Relay.
“If you are interested in getting involved and have an hour or two, we are looking for volunteers to help out at registration and survivorship, sell luminarias, and be general helpers throughout the event,” the event chairman said. “Please contact us via the relay e-mail address, or call me at 203-241-7077 for more information.”
All participating teams are reminded that there will be no food, pets, or staking of tents allowed on the track or field turf.