April 20, 2017
Relay for Life Honors Loved Ones Touched by Cancer
By Vice Mayor Kevin Hartke
I invite the Chandler community to gather on May 12 at 6 p.m. at Basha High School to honor loved ones touched by cancer. In a united fashion that transcends pain and heartache, we will walk, talk, laugh and cry together until 6 a.m. the next day, to remember people we have lost to the disease, celebrate caregivers and survivors and raise funds for cancer research.
Chandler Relay for Life is dear to my heart in the way we collectively make a stand against cancer. It is an opportunity to express our grief and proclaim a universal message of healing, love and hope.
According to the American Cancer Society, one in every three women and one in every two men will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime. In 2017, an estimated 1.6 million new cancer cases will be diagnosed and 600,000 cancer deaths will occur in our country. Needless to say, each one of us will be faced with cancer directly or indirectly.
My family was hit hard when my wife, Lynne, and all four of our parents were diagnosed with cancer. The challenges of dealing with multiple situations at once were daunting, to say the least. Our faith and the support we received from the American Cancer Society Helpline 800-227-2345, as well as doctors, friends and family gave us courage and hope when we needed it the most.
Over the years, Lynne has become increasingly involved with Chandler Relay for Life; first as a survivor and recently as the event lead. Through our involvement, we have both been blessed with meeting inspiring people from all walks of life.
The theme for this year's event is "A Cure is a Wish Your Heart Makes," influenced by the Cinderella Disney song. We encourage participants to come dressed as their favorite Disney characters and walk laps in their costumes. Many activities will revolve around the Disney theme but there also will be other entertainment and various food trucks available. Chandler firefighters have committed to walking laps in full gear. The Chandler Police Department will organize an obstacle course and there will be plenty of activities for children. In my opinion, the most touching parts of the night are the survivor laps and the luminarias ceremony. When the sun goes down, we symbolically light up luminarias to shine brightly as a way to honor our loved ones.
Relay for Life is truly a one-of-a-kind fundraising event that reminds us that we are not alone in the fight against cancer. Come and join us to experience first-hand this movement of solidarity. Basha High School is located at 5990 S. Val Vista Drive. For more information on becoming involved, visit relayforlife.org/chandleraz.