AYER -- In the 13 years the Relay For Life of Greater Ayer has existed, memories have been made, lives have been celebrated and losses of those taken away too soon are remembered.
All of those things will be even more appreciated next week as the Ayer Relay marks its 13th year and this year will be supporting the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society.
The theme of the Ayer Relay this year is "Relay through the Decades," with each team picking a decade theme to decorate their campsite. Relay will take place at Ayer Shirley Regional High School, 141 Washington St., from Friday, June 21, at 6 p.m. through Saturday, June 22,, at noon, with teams of individuals walking around the track in relay fashion raising money to fund programs for cancer research.
The American Cancer Society furnishes a 24-hour hotline staffed all year with personnel who answer questions for patients, caregivers and loved ones looking for support. They also provide direction on how to access other services they sponsor, such as the "Road to Recovery," which provides patients with rides to and from a doctor's appointment and "Look Good, Feel Good," which offers cosmetology and beautification to patients free of charge.
The public is encouraged to attend this amazing June 21-22 event and support a wonderful cause. The first lap, the Survivor Lap, starts around 6 p.m. In what is probably the most emotional portion of the event, survivors walk around the track with their caregivers as others circle the track clapping and cheering in their honor.
If you want to see something spectacular, and people so full of hope, come see that first lap. If you have a friend, family member or acquaintance that has suffered from cancer or given care to a survivor, this is an event that will touch a deep place in your heart.
Just prior to the start of the Relay event, dinner and entertainment are provided to the survivors with dinner being donated by Nashoba Valley Medical Center and Steward Health Care. If you are a cancer survivor and would like to participate in this event, which is free of charge, please contact Sally Waite at 978-939-8010 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
There will also be a "Caregiver Pampering Room" this year on Friday, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Numerous local businesses are donating their time to provide the caregivers with a little extra T.L.C. Providers include Reiki healing by Cathy Keese, foot massages by Michele Fox from Youtopia Day Spa, nails and hand massages by Lisa Andrzejewski, golf putting analysis by Shaker Hills, chair massages by Leonora Brodeur and Patty Cason and many hairstylists including Sue Brodeur from Owen Jacobs Salon, Andrea Rutkowski and team from Trinity Salon, Woody's Barber Shop and Tammy Russell.
As the event goes on, people have fun despite the serious nature. Day of Drawing tent (Chinese-auction style) will be available with a wide-variety of prizes to choose from. Ticket sales start at 7 p.m. Friday through 10 a.m. Saturday. The drawing will be at noon on Saturday and you do not need to be present to win.
Also, a Relay store will have a large inventory of relay gear for purchase -- shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, tote bags and many other items, all reasonably priced.
There will be games, activities and entertainment during the entire Relay immediately following the Survivor Lap, with most teams offering something at their campsites. Every half hour, there is a change in the theme lap with everyone participating. Come enjoy the fun and get involved!
Vesta Mobile Wood-Fired Pizza, from Shirley, will be on-site with its mobile pizza oven, Friday night from 5-9 p.m., if you want to come visit the event and enjoy a meal while supporting the Greater Ayer Relay For Life with your purchase.
Come and see what Relay is all about; have fun and enjoy the festivities, all while making a difference in the fight against cancer. The general public is welcome between the hours of 6 and 11 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. to noon Saturday.
The closing ceremony to take place Saturday at 11 a.m. is another heartwarming portion of the Relay you do not want to miss. This year's schedule is geared to motivate and inspire everyone.
If you have any questions, please contact Darlene at 978-235-5324 or SYMSOL46@yahoo.com.