There is a lot of thought behind the beginning and end times of the New Tampa Relay for Life event.
The annual fight against cancer will kick off at 6 p.m. Friday and wrap up at noon on Saturday at .
“There is great symbolism in that,” said Terry Marie McGuirk, marketing chair. “They go through darkness and then enter into the light.”
The “they” applies to both cancer survivors and participants in Relay for Life, which is the American Cancer Society’s signature event to raise awareness and funds.
Quite popular, Relay for Life consists of teams that take turns making laps around the track throughout the night. It is not a race, however. The event also includes a “Survivor’s Lap” and a “Luminaria Ceremony” where the names of loved ones who have passed from cancer are written on bags that have lit candles inside.
“Money raised goes to the American Cancer Society but it is earmarked for New Tampa,” McGuirk said of Relay for Life.
The event is very family-oriented.
“A key point to drive home is that it’s not just the individual who is dealing with cancer,” McGuirk said. “It’s the whole family unit and, in turn, the community because we’re all so connected.”
This year’s theme is “Journey to a Cure,” McGuirk said, which allows each team to choose as their theme song a tune by the rock band Journey.
Bill Holster, team development chairman for New Tampa Relay for Life, earlier this week said there were about 50 teams signed up, which beats last year’s number of 34. More than 1,500 people are expected to turn out Friday night, Holster said.
"I don't know many people who haven't been touched by cancer in some way," Holster said.