05/11/06 — Lights to remember them by

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Lights to remember them by

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on May 11, 2006 1:53 PM

Bright lights will shine at this year's Relay for Life for those who have lost their battle with cancer and those who are still fighting the disease.

Luminarias are being sold in memory of and in honor of cancer victims. A luminaria is a white bag with that person's information and the Relay logo on it, a wood block in the bottom and a candle.

Anyone can purchase a luminaria. They are $10 each and are available from any Relay team member or by calling Debbie Pennell, luminaria chairman, at 739-7905.

To have a luminaria placed around the track in alphabetical order, it must be purchased no later than Wednesday. Luminarias may purchased after that date and even the day of the event, but they won't be placed in alphabetical order.

Last year, 5,400 luminarias were sold. This year's goal is 7,000, said Mrs. Pennell. Proceeds go to cancer research and local service programs.

Roger Rhodes' carpentry class at Charles B. Aycock High School has made new blocks for the luminarias.

Connie Whaley's eighth-grade class at Greenwood Middle School put the luminaria bags in order and also counted them.

"The class has done this for three years now and the kids really look forward to doing it," Mrs. Pennell said. "They feel like they're a big part of the Relay because they do that."

Boy Scout Troop 14 from Saulston United Methodist Church will place the luminarias around the track and also remove them after the event. Assisting them will be Glenn and Devonia Massey of Grantham.

If anyone would like to keep his or her luminaria, it has to be picked up the morning of May 20. The bag and candle may be taken home, but Mrs. Pennell asks that they leave the wooden block to be reused next year.

Mrs. Pennell said luminarias are representative of people who have had cancer -- those who have survived and those who have not. "We've also had some people buy them for their pets who have died of cancer," she said.

"When you see those bags lining that track with those candles burning, that bag represents someone special. It might even be yourself. Each of those bags is a person, an individual, someone who is a mother, father, brother, sister, wife, daughter, grandparent. That person was very special to someone, and it's a tribute to that person."

In addition to luminarias lining the walking track, there will be special heart-shaped luminarias in the middle of the track. There will be three honorees -- Bernadette Cooke, Kim Goff and Tanya Blount.

After receiving requests from several Relay teams wanting to do a heart-shaped luminaria for someone special, it was decided to have several hearts this year.

The heart-shaped luminarias will be lit first during a special ceremony starting at 9 p.m. Then the luminarias lining the track will also be lit. If someone would like to light a special luminaria, he or she may do so.

"It's a very, very touching ceremony," said Mrs. Pennell. "I think it gives people an opportunity to remember someone in a very special way.

"I work really hard on the Relay all year and that's my time to cry, laugh, walk, sit down, just dedicate that time to those who have been close to me that I have either lost to cancer or those who are at the Relay with me."

The 2006 Relay for Life will be May 19 and 20 at Wayne Community College.