JAY — The Franklin County Relay For Life will transform into a “Carnival for a Cure” when it gets under way at 6 p.m. Friday at the Jay High School field. This overnight event continues through 6 a.m. Saturday.
“The relay is an inspiring event for anyone who has fought cancer or loved someone who has fought cancer,” said Dee LaPlant, co-chairwoman of the event. “Sometimes people feel helpless in the face of cancer. The relay gives us a way to fight back by raising money for research and patient support and to celebrate the lives of those who have survived.”
This is the first time the Franklin County Relay For Life will be held at Jay High School. The move from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington was prompted by the construction at Mt. Blue, but LaPlant said the positive side is that it brings in the southern portion of the county, which may not have felt as much a part of the event when it was in Farmington.
“We’re seeing great support from the Jay-Livermore Falls area. It’s very exciting,” LaPlant said.
The relay is an overnight event, symbolizing the fact that “cancer never sleeps.” This year, the event is dedicated to former Farmington police Chief Richard Caton, who lost his battle with leukemia last summer.
“It is very much a community event. Every individual counts at the relay, from those who are fighting a personal battle and those who care for them to the many more who are raising money to eliminate cancer from our lives,” LaPlant said. “The relay gives us a chance to celebrate survivors, remember those who have not survived and fight back for a cure.”
Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back, are, in fact, the primary themes of the relay. Survivors are celebrated as they make the first lap around the track. People with cancer are remembered in the luminaria ceremony, where hundreds of white bags with candles inside line the track bearing the names of those who are fighting cancer and those who have passed on.
The relay is the major volunteer-driven fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. It has raised billions of dollars since its founding in 1985. The Franklin County Relay For Life has been going strong since 1998 and has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for research and patient support.
Anyone who would like to donate may come to the event or make a donation online at www.relayforlife.org/franklinme. The local event also has a Facebook page at www.Facebook.com/RelayFranklin.