Annual area Relay for Life events scheduled next two weekends

Community members are gathering to raise funds to battle cancer starting this week at annual Relay for Life events.

The Relay For Life of Shenandoah County will be held 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. today and Saturday  at Massanutten Military Academy.

Kaitlin Pomerleau, community manager with American Cancer Society, said the track will be lined with Relay teams that have set up tents for fundraising all night. Throughout the event, food, games, contests and music will be available, “all while raising money to fund cancer research, treatment, prevention and programs.

“The atmosphere of the event is similar to a fair or festival,” she said.

She added that the fundraising goal for this year’s event is $94,000. So far, $47,118 has been raised.

According to an American Cancer Society news release, 335 people participated in last year’s event, raising over $87,500. The money raised supports cancer research, education and risk reduction efforts, and free information and services for people with cancer.

Local cancer survivors and their caregivers will receive a free meal beginning at 5:30 p.m. on the field, followed by the survivor lap at 7 p.m.

“At the opening ceremony we celebrate our survivors during the luminaria ceremony, and we honor and remember those who’ve fought cancer as well as honor our caregivers, and the atmosphere is a little more reflective while the participants take silent laps around the track,” she said.

At the Fight Back ceremony in the morning, the community celebrates coming together to fight cancer and give a call to action to keep fighting back until a cure is found, she added.

“I imagine that many survivors feel hope and joy at Relay for Life,” she said. “They come together on this day and are surrounded by other cancer survivors from their community, as well as their families, to be honored. Some participants might have overcome cancer decades ago, while others have been recently diagnosed or are currently undergoing treatment. Therefore, their feelings at the event can vary greatly. But together, they build each other up, provide each other with hope, and are encouraged and honored by their fellow community members.”

Relay for Life in Warren County will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Saturday to Sunday at Skyline High School.

Relay for Life in Clarke County will be held starting at 4 p.m. Saturday at Johnson Williams Middle School in Berryville. The Kid’s Walk will begin at 5 p.m.

Relay for Life in Frederick County will be held from noon to midnight June 11 at James Wood High School.

Contact staff writer Kaley Toy at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or