Rain can’t stop Relay For Life
Participants brave the rain to walk the Survivors Lap at the Relay For Life at the Franklin County Fair Grounds on Friday evening.
The Survivors Lap at the Relay For life is led by the color guard
Lucas Day, 2 ½, of Deerfield, chases Shawn Murphy, 3, of Easthampton through puddles lining the track at the Franklin County Fairgrounds during the Relay For Life on Friday night.
GREENFIELD — With raincoats on and umbrellas in hand, about 150 cancer survivors cheerfully walked a lap around the track at the Franklin County Fairgrounds to the continuous applause of onlookers — the kick-off to the county’s 18th annual Relay For Life.
Organizers had been nervous that the day’s steady rain would deter people from showing up for the 21-hour American Cancer Society event. But they said Friday night that they believed that most, if not all, of the 71 teams and 1,000 participants had showed up as planned.
“I honestly think that it’s a true testament to how many people we have here in the community that support one another,” said event honorary chairwoman Lisa LaGue. “The rain can’t keep us away. Nothing can.”
Sandy Brodie, co-chair of the survivorship committee, said that there were golf carts and cars available to drive survivors around the track for the first lap. But only a few cars were needed for the procession because so many people insisted that they walk, she said.
“My cousin said to me earlier, ‘With what I’ve been through and with what the other survivors here have been through with the chemo and the diagnoses and the radiation ... what’s a little rain?’” said Brodie.
And while the rain may have canceled some of the superhero-themed laps, some walkers donned costumes while other teams had comic book action figure signs next to their tents.
The event’s luminaria ceremony — where candles in paper bags typically line the track and are lit to honor those fighting cancer and those who have died — was adjusted slightly because of the rain.
The 3,800 candles weren’t lit this year, but were on display in a building adjacent to the track. Many were arranged on the grandstand bleachers with others arranged in patterns on the floor inside the building. Organizers said a light would shine on the grandstand throughout the evening.
Luminaria organizer Matt Hall said that after the celebration of survivors, the candles are the next most important thing people look forward to at Relay For Life events.
“This shows us how many people are still fighting and how many people we have lost,” he said. “We wanted to find a way that we could still honor everybody.”
As of 7 p.m., the event had raised $185,000, with organizers still hopeful they’d be able to reach their goal of $250,000.
You can reach Chris Shores at:
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