Relay for Life is Saturday in Mogan City
MORGAN CITY, La. -- The central event of the East St. Mary Relay for Life takes place at the Morgan City Municipal Auditorium Saturday.
The Relay for Life is sponsored by the American Cancer Society. Teams camp out at a local venue and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have at least one participant walking at all times through the night because cancer never sleeps.
The relay begins at 5 p.m. and will conclude at 2 a.m.
Driftwood and Natural Satisfaction, two local bands, are scheduled to perform. Morgan City has lifted its noise ordinance until midnight so that participants can enjoy the music outside.
The St. Mary Parish Guns (police departments) and Hoses (fire departments) Battle for the Paddle had to cancel the jambalaya and gumbo cook off last weekend because of the weather, according to Noel Birriel, event chairwoman.
The cookoff has been rescheduled for Saturday. The public is invited to eat beginning at noon.
“This (year’s) event has been put together with the help of many from the community with all of their heart, sweat, and tears trying to rebuild this event back to where it once has been,” Birriel said.
Participation in East St. Mary Relay for Life, from Patterson to Amelia, has climbed from last year’s nine teams to 14 teams this year, Birriel said. Last year, $35,000 was raised in the fight against cancer, with a goal to raise $50,000 this year; $23,528 has been raised so far this year.
Teams are still being accepted. Registration can be done by calling Birriel at 985-300-4212.
Two of the highlights of most relays are the Survivors Dinner and the Survivors lap.
The East St. Mary Survivors dinner was held at the AARP building on Chennault Street March 21. Birriel said there were 75 to 80 survivors and family members at the dinner. The dinner was cooked and donated by Heath Landry, a cancer survivor and local firefighter.
Saturday’s relay will open with the Survivors Lap, celebrating what cancer-surviving participants have overcome, while inspiring and motivating the community to fight.
Probably the most emotional part of the ceremony is the Luminaria, according to Birriel. The ceremony takes place after sundown. Luminaria candles are lit representing a person — loved one, friend or acquaintance — that has fought the battle against cancer or been affected by it.
“It symbolizes a time to grieve for those we have lost, to reflect on our own cancer experience or that of those closest to us, and to find hope that tomorrow holds the promise of a cancer-free world,” Birriel said.
The event concludes with the Fight Back Ceremony. The American Cancer Society says that this emotionally powerful ceremony inspires Relay participants to take action.
The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each person can make in the fight against cancer; for loved ones and for the community to fight cancer year-round and to commit to saving lives.
The East St. Mary Relay will end with this parting ceremony, but the annual drive to raise funds continues through Aug. 31.
According to the American Cancer Society, each year more than 4 million people in more than 20 countries raise much-needed funds through participation in the Relay for Life.