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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Relay's luminaries

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Luminaries get personal in 2002

Those wishing to purchase a Relay for Life luminaria in honor and remembrance of loved ones afflicted with cancer may now create an even more touching commemoration thanks to a new, more personal method by the American Cancer Society.

The Storm Lake branch of the ACS is offering a new option for honoring both survivors and those who have lost their battle with cancer in the form of personalized luminarias. Those purchasing a luminaria will now be given a white paper sack which they may decorate any way they choose, be it with drawings, pictures, or collages. Sacks are then returned to Relay for Life volunteers, who will set them up for the Luminaria Ceremony.

A popular yet somber staple of the annual Relay for Life event to fight cancer, candles are placed inside each sack and then lit at dusk around the Storm Lake High School track where the relay is held, spelling out a message of hope. The name of each cancer patient memorialized or honored on the luminarias is then read, accompanied by piano, to the attending crowd. Tracy Mork, luminaria chairperson for the Storm Lake Relay for Life committee, said that this year's Relay will have a new feel.

As opposed to a closing ceremony in past Relay for Life events, this year's relay, to be held Aug. 2-3, lasts from 7 p.m. to 6 a.m., and at dusk, the lighting of the luminarias will kick off ceremonies rather then close them.

Mork said that for a number of reasons, the personalized luminarias are a vast improvement from the old method, in which a sheet would be filled out with names of those wished to be honored, and then given to the luminaria committee, who would then write each name on a plain white paper sack.

"The lighting of the luminarias is the most emotional part of the Relay for Life, so we're really trying to personalize it this year," Mork said. "It also helps out our volunteers, who often had to write names on 1,500 luminarias the night before the relay."

Mork said the luminary committee has already received a number of creative and touching luminarias in various mediums, from personal photographs to pictures clipped from magazines, or even entire bags that were painted.

"People are really starting to catch on, and we've gotten some neat ones back already," Mork said. "We really encourage anyone who has been touched by cancer in some way to purchase a luminaria to remember those we've lost and to honor our survivors."

Luminarias may be purchased with a $10 donation to the American Cancer Society, and include a list of decoration ideas. Relay for Life volunteers request that finished luminarias be returned by July 26, but they may be purchased up until the actual ceremony. They may also be taken home afterwards as a memento. To purchase a luminaria, contact a Relay for Life volunteer or contact the Storm Lake branch of the American Cancer Society, 541 Cayuga St., at 732-9022.

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