St. Croix Relay for Life


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ST. CROIX - The community is just days away from the biggest fundraising event of the year for the St. Croix chapter of the American Cancer Society - Relay for Life 2014.

The annual event, now in its 13th year locally, is planned for Saturday and Sunday at the St. Croix Educational Complex Track.

With the theme "Fight to the Finish: All Ah We Ah One," the event will span two days.

Relay for Life events on St. John and St. Thomas are planned for later this year.

Donna Jones, American Cancer Society spokeswoman, said "Relay for Life" is the biggest annual fundraiser for the society, so the organization is trying to rally lots of community support through sponsorships and individuals joining teams.

While support from the community has been slow in terms of newly organized teams this year, Jones said the teams that have traditionally been a part of the event have continued to show their support and more are still expected to join.

Teams expected to make their way on the track will be made up of church members, sororities, fraternities, reunion classes, friends, families, co-workers, online groups, non-profits and politicians, since this is an election year and the event could bring high visibility.

The goal of the round-the-clock event is for teams to participate in a 20-hour trek around the track, which symbolizes that cancer does not sleep and those who are fighting against it are doing so without taking a break.

The event begins at 2 p.m. Saturday with registration of survivors and shirt distribution, followed by the opening ceremony and a grand parade around the track with all of the teams at 4 p.m.

At 5 p.m., survivors will take their lap. The luminary ceremony, during which participants light candles and tiki torches in remembrance of those who have died and in honor of survivors, begins at 9 p.m.

The event wraps up at 10 a.m. Sunday.

For the first time, Jones said the event will include the "Fight Back" ceremony, during which members of the community will make a public declaration of what they as an individual, organization or even company plan to do for the rest of the year to take an active stand against fighting cancer.

Entertainment is always a big draw for the event and will include live bands, DJs, dancers, mocko jumbies and more.

Jones said each team that signs up pays a $150 registration fee and is committed to raising at least $1,500 between its 15 members.

In addition to the contributions from teams, the American Cancer Society will offer official Relay for Life T-shirts with donations of $10 or more.

She said everyone needs a T-shirt to enter the track, so while joining a team is encouraged, even people who are not on a team can be a part of the event.

For information or to register for the event, contact Jones at 201-8264.

- Contact reporter Fiona Stokes at 714-9149 or email fstokes@dailynews.vi.

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