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In an effort to keep the spirit alive during a 12-hour walkathon to fight cancer, new events and activities have been added to Relay for Life in Williamsburg.
On May 1, hundreds of people will start walking around track at Jamestown High School for Relay for Life, a national event in support of the American Cancer Society.
The event begins at 5 p.m. Friday with a survivor’s dinner, catered by Sal’s by Victor and sponsored in part by Riverside Cancer Care. Dinner guests will be entertained by Flute Frenzy and the Eliza Geer Instrumental Jazz Band.
After the dinner, participants will join together during an opening ceremony, where honorary chairman Carl Lum, the president of Busch Gardens and Water Country USA, will address the crowd.
Members of the James City County Fire Department will be lighting the luminaria, bags filled with candles that are dedicated to those who are battling cancer or have lost their lives to the disease.
This year’s Luminaria is dedicated to the memory of James City County firefighter Tim Killian, who died from cancer a few months ago.
New this year is the Salute to Heroes lap honoring military personnel. At 7:30 p.m., members of the Marine Corps will be honored while the Matthew Waley Chorus performs.
The lap goes with the relay’s theme of Red, White and Blue, selected after surveying last year’s participants.
After 11 hours of walking, participants will be hungry, so this year, Relay for Life is serving up breakfast at 6 a.m.
“It sort of mimics what a person goes through when they have cancer,” publicity chairwoman Amy Ritchie said. “We’re trying to keep up the energy through the end of the event.”
After breakfast, 50 doves will be released while names of survivors and lost loved ones are read as part of the final remembrance ceremony that closes the event.
“I think that the message [of staying all night] has resonated with people,” Ritchie said. “People are excited for it and are planning to stay.”
For more information and a full schedule of events, visit the Relay for Life of Williamsburg website.
In York County, Relay for Life will be held June 5 at Tabb High School. The event kicks off at 5 p.m.