Cancer has claimed the lives of more than 9,100 South Carolinians this year already, with 22,100 new cases in the state. That’s why each year, more and more South Carolinians are running, walking, anyway they can move towards a cure.
American Cancer Society Relays for Life–statewide–have gained in popularity and participation. In some parts of the state, like Spartanburg, it has become an official service project for school districts. Theresa Shiltz, a Spartanburg school teacher says, “Everyone of our schools has a relay team. It is just a very important community event. I think because people are realizing so many people are touched by cancer.”
More than half of the state has held Relay for Life events this Spring, with more to come into the summer. Shiltz says there are supporters –and survivors at each event.
Shiltz says ” There are people cooking out on gas grills. There are survivors that are there in wheelchairs and their care givers are pushing them around the track after the survivor lap. I have seen family members when they have joined for the caregiver lap hand their survivor a dozen pink roses if their breast cancer survivor.”
These relays last all night long, with one particular ceremony in common, says Shiltz.
“One of the most touching things that you will even experience is the luminary ceremony and that happens just at dark when all the luminaries are lit with T light candles somebody whos cancer has touched is the torch barrier and they may speak for a moment and then you take a silent lap around the track in the dark with nothing on but the luminary and thats in memory for the people who didnt make it.”
Upcoming relays will take place in Greenwood, Lexington, Aiken, and Charleston.
Relay For Life events in South Carolina raised over $8.5 million in 2008.
Remaining cities also include: Greenville, Spartanburg, Myrtle Beach, and York.