Relay for Life offers hope, inspiration
Published: Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, April 18, 2012 12:04
The fight against cancer continues as the residents of St. George prepare for the 24th annual Relay for Life.
This year’s Relay for Life is April 27 and 28. The event will start at noon at Hansen Stadium.
Participants in the relay race, and other events surrounding it, are sometimes motivated by their own personal experiences or the experiences of loved ones. One of those participants is Troy Ogilvie, a sophomore general education major from Heber City.
“[Relay for Life] has a really special place in my heart because I’m a survivor,” Ogilvie said.
Ogilvie is a survivor of acute lymphoblastic leukemia, and he has been involved with Relay for Life since 2002.
“My mom helped start the Relay for Life [in Heber City],” he said. “I’ve been involved every year since, and I love it.”
Robynn Jones, chairperson for the St. George Relay for Life, said her involvement with the relay has to do personal experiences with cancer as well.
She said her friends who were already involved with the relay were the first ones to get her to participate, but since then she has lost several friends and family members to cancer.
Besides just raising money for the American Cancer Society, the Relay for Life raises hope for those still fighting the disease.
“The best part about being involved with Relay for Life is just seeing the hope it brings to everybody because there’s always people there who are fighting cancer and people who have survived it,” Ogilvie said. “It just brings hope to them to see everyone who’s there to help them through it.”
David Moore, the St. George area representative for the American Cancer Society, wrote in an email that the Relay for Life represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported, and that one day cancer will be eliminated. Essentially, that is the philosophy for Relay for Life.
He also wrote that for the newly diagnosed, the relay is a healing experience that offers a chance to meet others, like Ogilvie, who have claimed victory over cancer.
The relay also gives caregivers the chance to be recognized for their time, love and support to cancer patients in the survivor lap.
“ [The participants] all go on the track and take the first lap and that’s what kicks off the relay,” Jones said. “It’s just so touching and so beautiful to see all of them. They are all given the opportunity to invite one caregiver who can walk the track with them and help them.”
Participants have the choice to either create or join a relay team or to just show up individually and participate in the other events. Jones said one year two teamless participants came all the way from California to participate.
“They ran the whole entire relay by themselves,” she said. “It was amazing.”
Jones said one of the main events that attract people to the relay is the Luminaria Ceremony.
While there are people who have survived cancer at the event, there are also people there who have lost loved ones to cancer. The Luminaria Ceremony gives those people a chance to reflect on their loved ones and spread awareness about the reality of the disease.
“They do a reflection evening where they do luminaries,” Ogilvie said. “It’s where they light up bags that people create for people they lost, or for those currently fighting cancer. It’s a really special moment.”
To learn more about Relay for Life or register a team, visit relayforlife.org/stgeorgeut or call the local office at 674-9707.