CUYAHOGA FALLS — Nearly 1,000 people attended last weekend’s Relay For Life, the annual 24-hour event dedicated to raising money to fight cancer, according to the event organizer.
Relay For Life of Cuyahoga Falls began at 9 a.m. June 2 at Bolich Middle School’s Laybourne Field and ended at 9 a.m. June 3 with 37 teams participating in the event, said Event Chair Debbie Oliver.
"Our biggest majority of people at one time was for the luminarias at 10 p.m.," Oliver said.
This year’s Relay event had a record number of luminarias available for a minimum donation of $10 each, and more than 800 names were read, 200 more than normal, Oliver said. The luminarias honor cancer survivors and remember those who have lost their lives to cancer.
"It's the most we've ever sold," Oliver said. "During the luminarias ceremony, we had a Cuyahoga Falls High School sophomore Raiden Ehrenfried play ‘Amazing Grace’ on the bagpipes," she said.
Relay has three premises—to celebrate survivors; remember those who have lost their battle to cancer; and to fight back against cancer, Oliver said.
"We raise funds and the majority go to cancer research and programs the American Cancer Society supports for survivors and their caregivers and families," she said.
The 2018 Relay For Life of Cuyahoga Falls has so far raised $80,000 of its $95,000 goal.
Supporters can donate funds through Aug. 31 and help make the goal by going to the website RelayForLife.org/Cuyahogafalls and the Facebook page Cuyahoga Falls Relay For Life. In addition, another fundraiser is planned in the summer to help meet the goal, but Oliver did not have a date by press time for the event.
Oliver said she has been involved in Relay For Life for 20 years.
"This year it felt like we were a huge family," Oliver said. "The teams, the participants, the survivors and visitors had a good time and it was a comfortable event that everyone enjoyed. They could smile, and cry together."
The Relay for Life of Cuyahoga Falls included opening ceremonies with Silver Lake Mayor Bernie Hovey, the national anthem played by the Cuyahoga Falls Marching Band and special laps around the track. Every hour had a special theme until the luminaria service at 10 p.m.
Next year the Relay For Life of Cuyahoga Falls should be the first Saturday in June depending on scheduling.
Reporter Laura Freeman can be reached at 330-541-9434 or firstname.lastname@example.org