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Honor cancer survivors at Relay

May 05, 2010 - Local cancer survivors and loved ones spend the weekend together, May 15-16, at the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Clarkston.

"Relay For Life is a place where you can go to share your story without saying a word," said Gail Engdahl, Relay For Life of Clarkston survivorship chair. "We are inviting all cancer survivors, no matter if it's been one day or one decade since their diagnosis, to come out and be celebrated."

Activities at the relay, 10 a.m., May 15, to 10 a.m., May 16, at Clarkston Junior High School, include Suvivor Celebration, Luminaria Ceremony, and Victory Lap.

"The Victory Lap is one of the most moving experiences of my cancer journey," Engdahl said. "Each year I'm overwhelmed by the crowds of people who surround the track cheering on survivors like myself. It reminds me that I'm not alone in my fight against cancer."

Participating cancer survivors wear special shirts, leading the Victory Lap around the track in honor of their triumph over cancer. This year's Victory Lap will be held at 10 a.m., with registration beginning at 9:15 a.m., May 15.

The Luminaria Ceremony occurs after sundown. The small candlelit bags decorated with the names of people who have faced cancer line the track through the night.

"The sight of the luminaria glowing in the darkness is breathtaking," said Dee Chartier, luminaria chair. "The Luminaria Ceremony brings to light the impact cancer has had on our community and inspires us to do everything possible to find a cure."

To donate or for more information, call 248 663-3414. All donations fund American Cancer Society research and programs.

"More people are surviving cancer than ever before and I am one of them," said Engdahl, a 6-year breast cancer survivor. "I am living proof that this disease is survivable, but there is still more work to be done to ensure everyone diagnosed with cancer celebrates more birthdays. That is why we hold the Relay For Life of Clarkston each year."

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