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June 13, 2003 – The St. Thomas-St. John chapter of the American Cancer Society will host its 2nd annual overnight Relay for Life on June 21 at the Charlotte Amalie High School athletic track.
Last year's event was the first on the island, although the American Cancer Society has been sponsoring such overnight relays nationally since 1992 to raise funds for cancer programs within local communities.
The Relay for Life "reaches into communities large or small in order to raise awareness of cancer and the work of the ACS," a release states. It also is geared toward celebrating life with survivors of cancer.
The event at CAHS will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday, June 21, with the "Survivors' Victory Lap" and conclude at 9 a.m. Sunday, June 22. Throughout the night, members of participating teams will walk, jog or run around the track in hour-long shifts while their teammates enjoy entertainment, refreshments and camaraderie. Funds are raised by sponsorship of teams and contributions of their members.
Organizers said last year's event attracted 28 teams and a total crowd estimated at 7,000 persons and raised at least $65,000. (See "Cancer relay draws thousands, raises $65K".)
There will be a Luminary Ceremony at 9 p.m. Saturday with participants lighting candles around the track to remember those who have lost the battle to cancer as well as to pay homage to survivors. "This heartfelt ceremony is a highlight of the relay as the caring and sharing of love exhibited by family, friends and participants is both moving and healing," the release states.
Medical personnel also will be on hand, to perform breast and prostate cancer screening, as well as testing for blood-sugar and cholesterol levels and hypertension.
Gov. Charles W. Turnbull is the honorary chair of this year's event, and Rodney Miller, chief executive of Roy L. Schneider Hospital, is the honorary co-chair.
Fund-raising totals, as well as awards to the teams that raise the most money will be announced on Sunday. All funds raised will remain in the Virgin Islands and will be used by the Cancer Society for patient assistance, education and training.
For information on forming or joining a Relay for Life team, contact Terese Hodge at 775-6373. Luminary candles are being sold for $5; purchases may be arranged by calling Valerie Frances at 774-1912.

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