BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ  – The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Berkeley Heights, Mountainside, New Providence and Summit will hold its third annual event on May 13-14 at The Watchung Reservation Loop Playground in Mountainside.  The event, which is  sponsored by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, is for everyone. All are invited to attend the event and participate in the battle against cancer.  Join the group to celebrate those who have battled and who continue to battle, remember those lost to this dreadful disease, and fight back to create a world without cancer.   
  
The event begins at 4 p.m. with a Survivor Celebration dinner.  According to the American Cancer Society, a cancer survivor is born as soon as a person hears the words, “you have cancer.” Regardless of where you may be on the journey to recovery; whether you heard those words 20 minutes ago or 20 years ago, you are a survivor and are invited to join in the celebration.  To take part in the dinner, register by emailing Patti Broccoli at pabrocc@verizon.net . Beginning at 4 p.m. there are also opportunities to play games, take a ride on the Remax hot air balloon, grab a bite to eat, set-up a campsite, and have loads of fun!
 
The Opening Ceremony , in which organizers highlight survivorship with music and guest speakers, begins at 6 p.m. and concludes with the first ceremonial lap around the loop taken by the survivors.  This is a chance for the other attendees to line the track and cheer on the survivor walkers.  The second lap begins when the caregivers join the walk and accompany the survivors for another special lap.  The walking continues throughout the night as everyone focuses on the fact that “cancer doesn’t sleep so neither will we!”  

The Luminaria Ceremony begins at approximately 9 p.m. as the attendees gather for ceremony of quiet reflection.  When darkness falls, the track is lit solely by the light from the luminaria bags that line the course.  Each bag represents a person.  Some memorialize those lost, others provide inspiration for those fighting.  This is a most heartfelt part of the night.  After speeches are made and music is enjoyed, there is a poignant silent lap.  
 
Sign Up for E-News

Immediately following the Luminaria Ceremony, the mood will shift to upbeat as the Fight Back Ceremony begins.  At this point the focus is on moving forward and continuing the fight against cancer.  Participants commit to finishing the fight and protecting themselves and those they love by having appropriate screenings, being mindful of their health, and working to raise money so that the American Cancer Society can continue its great work.  
 
Throughout the night, after-hour activities will include some musical performances, a “Relay’s Got Talent” talent show, games, a drive-in style movie and continuous walking of the track.  At sunrise, 6 a.m., the participants will come together for a final moment of reflection at the Closing Ceremony.  Local clergy will help close the event and organizers will reveal the amount of money that was earned throughout the night.  The uplifting and inspirational tone of the closing ceremony is the perfect ending for the event.  
 
The Relay For Life movement unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and take action to finish the fight once and for all. The Relay For Life movement is the world’s largest fundraising event to fight every cancer in every community, with four million participants in 6,000 events worldwide in 2017. “This is our community’s opportunity to help save lives from cancer by taking our message to more people and raising more dollars to fund the fight,” said Patti Broccoli, Event Chairperson “Together, our efforts can make a big difference.”
 
Visit relayforlife.org to learn more about the event or contact Patti Broccoli at (908)591-7269 or pabrocc@verizon.net or Margaret Illis at Margaret.illis@gmail.com.  
 
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2.5 million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 22 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress; 14.5 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s  largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.