For Hometown News
ST. LUCIE WEST -- Lace your sneakers and get ready to walk for a good cause, as the Relay for Life of St. Lucie West will be held April 26 starting at 5 p.m. at Tradition Field. This will be the 17th year the relay has taken place at the field.
The 18-hour event honors those struggling with cancer as well as those who have died from the disease. This year, the relay begins at 6 p.m. on April 26 and ends at noon on April 27.
"The community is welcome and there is no entrance fee," said Lori Finkel, operation chair for the relay. "There will be many games, prizes, food and beverages for purchase, with all the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society."
Cancer survivors and the people that take care of them are treated as the guests of honor, and are given a special reception after they take their walk, complete with a meal donated and served by St. Lucie Medical Center.
The Luminaria ceremony will also take place. This touching ceremony takes place just as the sun sets. Small bags with the names of those to be remembered or honored for their fight with cancer are written on the bags, which are placed along the track. Just as it gets dark, small lights inside the bags are lit, illuminating the path for those still walking to bring awareness to the disease.
All through the night, there will be entertainment, games, food, fun and lots of cancer awareness.
The relay currently has 44 teams, with 480 participants. To date, the volunteers have raised more than $32,000. Sale of food, drinks and other items through the night will help raise this number even higher. Last year, the relay raised more than $106,000.
One of the teams is the Tom Ruggirello Agency. Mr. Ruggirello is also the event chair for this year's relay.
"I have personally felt the pain of loss from this insidious disease as it has claimed my father, maternal grandmother and three of my closest friends," Mr. Ruggirello said. "I want to do everything in my power to help raise money that funds the research to find a cure to this disease, and hope my efforts help."
The Relay for Life of St. Lucie West will be held from 6 p.m. on April 26 to noon on April 27 at Tradition Field, located at 525 N.W. Peacock Blvd. in Port St. Lucie.