Norfolk, Wrentham Relay for Life Moves to Medway American Cancer Society Fundraiser set for June 15

Grace Allen
Issue Date: 
June, 2018
Article Body: 

The two area Relay for Life events have combined into one big event this year, Relay for Life of Western Norfolk County. The new Relay for Life will include the towns of Norfolk, Wrentham, Millis, Medway, Medfield, Franklin, and Bellingham.
According to Taylor Wright, the American Cancer Society’s Community Development Manager for the Northeast, the separate events were combined together in the hope of making a bigger impact and raising more funds for cancer research and prevention.
“Collectively in 2017, the separate events raised over $130,000 for the American Cancer Society and engaged more than 500 participants,” said Wright. “We hope the combined event will be bigger and better than ever.”
The event, planned for June 15 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., will take place at Medway Middle School, located at 45 Holliston Street. Teams set up tents and members take turns walking around the school’s track all through the night because “cancer never sleeps.”
The family-friendly event, free and open to the public, will include activities, themed laps, music, food, and more. There will be multiple opportunities to donate to the American Cancer Society during the night. The event is all-volunteer run.
As of May 10, Relay for Life of Western Norfolk County has raised close to $27,000, said Wright.
Each year, several traditional ceremonies take place at Relay for Life. The night begins with an opening ceremony, followed by the Survivor Lap and Caregiver Lap. Survivors are then invited into the school for the Survivor Reception.
The moving Luminaria Ceremony takes place at 9 p.m. Bags lining the track are lit with glow sticks and then participants walk a lap in silence. The bags symbolize people fighting cancer, as well as those lost to cancer.
Teresa Fernald is a Leadership Team volunteer as well as a team captain. In 2012, Fernald was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lymphoma. On May 4 she celebrated six years of remission.
“I am very grateful for the American Cancer Society,” said Fernald, a Franklin resident. “The drug that saved me was right off a clinical trial and is now the standard of care. Research is so, so important.”
Fernald hopes the combined, bigger Relay event will encourage more people to participate.
“One in every three people in the U.S. will be affected by cancer,” she said. “Odds are you know someone who has or has had cancer. You come to an event like this and you see how much fun it is and maybe you will be more likely to start or join a team. And then we can raise even more money.”
New this year, Cancer Warriors will be recognized at the Survivor Reception. People are encouraged to share their stories about someone who has helped those fighting cancer, or someone fighting cancer that has inspired others.
“Everyone who has gone through the cancer journey is a warrior and amazing,” said Fernald. “And those who have supported them are also amazing. It would be nice if we could recognize and appreciate each other’s fight.”
Cancer Warrior stories should be emailed to Fernald at [email protected] for consideration by June 8.
People can also donate hair at this year’s Relay. Stylists from Salon Sorella will be on hand to cut hair from 6 p.m. to dusk. Hair donations will be given to the organization Children with Hair Loss (
Salon Sorella has participated in the Franklin Relay event for the last seven years, said Jean Carmignani, who owns the Franklin salon with her sister, Carol Colella.
“We believe in giving back to our community, and this is a hands-on way to do it,” said Carmignani, who recently opened a second salon in Norfolk, located at 65 Holbrook Street.
“We love Relay,” added Carmignani. “The love and support that night is incredible, and the energy is amazing.”
Organizers emphasize that anyone can come to Relay and enjoy the event, walk a lap, and participate in the activities. Themed laps this year include Patriots, Costumes, Glow, Country, Mardi Gras, and Pajamas. Local band Soar will perform, also.
Cancer survivors and a guest are encouraged to attend the free Survivor Reception and are asked to pre-register if possible, but are welcome to simply show up the night of the event.
To enter a team in Relay or to donate, visit Registration is free, but participants are required to raise $100 to stay overnight. Those under 18 must have a chaperone after 11 p.m.