The event always begins with a "survivors lap" - and as I circle the PC track, I'll be sporting as many zebra-striped accessories as possible in solidarity with the carcinoid community.
Below is an overview of the event from the American Cancer Society's website:
"The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.
Although every Relay For Life is different, there are certain traditions at all Relays, no matter where they are held. These traditions help participants celebrate, remember, and fight back.Celebrate - The Survivors Lap
Relay starts with a Survivors Lap an inspirational time when survivors are invited to circle the track together and help everyone celebrate the victories we’ve achieved over cancer. The Survivors Lap is an emotional example of how Relay participants are creating a world with more birthdays like those of each individual on the track.
Remember - The Luminaria Ceremony
After dark, we honor people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer, and participants often walk a lap in silence.
Fight Back - The Fight Back Ceremony
Last, there is a Fight Back Ceremony, where we make a personal commitment to save lives by taking up the fight against cancer."