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Town Prepares for First Relay for Life

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Winchester will kick off at 6 p.m. Saturday at Skillings Field.

Walkers will go around the clock in the battle against cancer when the first American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Winchester gets underway with teams of residents gathering at on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Relay For Life events are held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at an athletic track, park or other gathering area, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track or pathway at all times throughout the evening. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their camp sites during Relay. Relay brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups – people from all walks of life – all aimed at furthering the American Cancer Society’s efforts to save lives by helping people stay well, by helping them get well, by finding cures and by fighting back.

Relay is the largest non-profit activity in the world and is coming to Winchester for the first time. Planning has been under-way for several months and is planned by students at the and the Connect and Commit Program, 's Service Learning program.

“Relay is a unique opportunity for our community to come together to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember those we’ve lost, and fight back against the disease,” said Rebecca Levine, Director of the Winchester Youth Center. “Many of the participants are cancer survivors, which serves as a reminder that our community is not immune to this disease and that by participating in Relay, we are joining with the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,”.

Funds raised at Relay For Life of Winchester are enabling the American Cancer Society to impact the lives of those touched by cancer within the community by  supporting vital, cutting-edge cancer research; providing cancer patients with services such as transportation to treatment, free lodging at our Hope Lodge, and round the clock support at our national cancer information center available at 1-800-227-2345 anytime, day or night; publishing lifesaving literature on cancer prevention, detection and tobacco control; and developing a new generation of medicines that help those battling cancer.

Relay For Life’s Luminaria Ceremony takes place after sundown, honoring the community’s cancer survivors and remembering those lost to the disease. Participants will circle a track that is surrounded with glowing luminaria that bear the name of someone who has battled cancer. Luminaria may be purchased the night of Relay or by visiting www.RelayForLife.org/WinchesterMA.

It is not too late to get involved this year. You can still sign up a team, sign up for the survivor reception or make a donation. Relay is open to the public so you are welcome to come down to the event and experience it for yourself.

-Matthew Blom, American Cancer Society of Winchester staff partner, contributed this piece.

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