By Sammi SLAYBACK
In celebrating the Foothills Relay For Life’s 12th consecutive year and to raise awareness of the two day event coming up May 12-May 13, community liaison and event organizer Regan Boone held a luminaria ceremony following a Relay event on Saturday evening. The ceremony was held at the corner of Ocean View Boulevard and Honolulu Avenue just as the sun was setting.
Luminaria ceremonies are traditionally held the night of a Relay event after the day’s festivities to honor those who lost their battle with cancer. The ritual involves the lighting of candles inside small sand-filled bags known as luminarias. Each decorated bag bears the name of an individual taken by cancer. Each candle is lit in their memory.
“The luminarias are very emotional,” explained Foothills Relay For Life chair Paula Warner. “[The ceremony is] a time to grieve, a time to celebrate, and a time to remember. It’s very cleansing. Even though it’s hard, it’s still a wonderful experience.”
As darkness approached Saturday, the luminarias were kindled while Boone and Warner spoke of their experiences and the loved ones they’d lost to cancer. Onlookers stopped to listen and to pay their respects to those who had passed on. Anyone who was interested was then offered a glow stick and the opportunity to walk as a group east on Honolulu Avenue to hand out fliers and support Relay efforts.
The main Foothills Relay For Life event takes place at Clark Magnet High School starting at 9 a.m. on May 12. The school’s field will be dotted with team tents and pop ups and the track will be home to team walkers for 24 hours.
“It isn’t too late to sign up a team,” informed Boone. “We encourage any cancer survivors to register online for the relay. We’re there to celebrate you!”
To register a team or to learn more about Foothills Relay For Life events, information can be found at www.foothillsrelayforlife.com. All proceeds raised benefit the American Cancer Society.