REMEMBERING?A central part of the Relay for Life Achill is the moving Candle of Hope ceremony. The picture shows many of the candles lit during last year’s relay. Every candle bag has a message or dedication to someone who is fighting cancer or who has passed away from cancer.
Victims remembered and survivors celebrated in Achill
The second annual Relay for Life Achill aims to celebrate survivors, remember victims and fight back against cancer
A highly emotive remembrance fundraiser takes place in Achill this coming weekend with the hosting of the second annual Relay for Life Achill.
The fundraiser for the Irish Cancer Society is a 24 hour walking relay for which funds are raised in support of the fight against cancer.
The Relay for Life, which takes place all over the world, gives communities a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled and survived cancer, to remember lost loved ones and to fight back against the disease.
Relay for Life Achill 2014 will take place at Davitt Park, Polranny, Achill from 7pm on Friday, August 15 next to 7pm the next day.
A very successful inaugural staging of the event was held last year, during which over €28,000 was raised for the Irish Cancer Society.
Events like these raise vital funds to support the work done by the Irish Cancer Society, such as in its cancer research programmes, provision of night nurses, Care to Drive campaign and its cancer support centers.
At the heart of each Relay For Life event, teams of 10-15 friends, neighbours, families and colleagues come together in groups and commit to keeping participants walking around the pitch for 24 hours.
Many other activities take place throughout the 24 hours to create a wonderfully festive atmosphere. It is encouraged that every team does something on the day to raise funds. Last year there were raffles, penalty shoot outs, cake sales, food galore and entertainment provided throughout the 24 hours.
The event itself starts with a cancer survivors’ lap of honour, which is sure to be an emotive lap for all concerned. Survivors from all around the county, and beyond, are invited to take part in this ceremony. Each team then follows behind and so the 24 hours of relay begins.
Candle of Hope
The next event is the Candle of Hope ceremony. This was a very special and moving time for all involved last year. Every candle bag has a message or dedication to someone who has fought cancer and is still fighting it, or to those who have passed away, and as dusk falls, all the lights around the track are switched off and all the candle bags are illuminated. There is a minute’s silence then for reflection.
Cancer can leave a lot of pain and heartache in its wake. But it can also inspire people to come together and do some wonderful things. Relay For Life events are organised entirely by communities so that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and in the hope that one day cancer will be eliminated.
Throughout the 24 hours there will be live entertainment. Musicians, singers, and dancers are all more than welcome to come and entertain the crowd. Achill Rovers will hold their table quiz in the main marquee Friday night. There will be a mini football blitz for kids, penalty shoot outs, and many more events held during the 24 hours. There is something for everyone to enjoy while supporting a very vital fundraising event.
The closing ceremony is very significant with all survivors leading the crowd in a final lap around the pitch. This was a fantastic sight last year with people covering nearly the whole perimeter of the pitch.
There are many ways to participate in a Relay For Life event. Be part of a team, be a volunteer, support the survivors, support the teams, come along, get a t-shirt and walk a few laps yourself.
An event like Relay would not be possible without the assistance of the many volunteers who come along and give their time so freely. There is a lot of work that goes into organising an event like this in the days leading up to it and the day after. If anyone can spare a couple of hours please let any committee member know.
Last year 27 teams registered to take part in the relay. So far 23 teams have registered but by Friday the committee are hoping to have at least 30 teams take part so it’s never too late to join.
This year there will be 20 marquees available to teams for their stalls. Anyone who wishes to make use of them is advised to let the committee know before Friday.