Niagara Gazette

Opinion

June 8, 2013

LETTERS FROM THE ISLAND: Island readies for the Relay

Niagara Gazette — Dear Mainland Runners — Forget the Belmont, for a real Triple Crown outing try our Relay for Life this weekend. You can more easily avoid our roundabout than you can avoid our Relay for Life.

For one thing, if you pop into Island Prescription Center, wear sunglasses (it doesn’t sell any, we don’t believe) before gazing at that purple quilt on the eastern wall. Words, at least ours, fail at describing the purple blaze, designed, sewn and contributed by Sue Miles and Colleen Eddy. They’ll take it down and raffle it off some time this afternoon at Veterans Park, the big multi-purpose green space off Bedell Road, a little to the north of our geographical center.

Then, as you grope out the door, one of the pharmacists may slip you a prescription bottle. We got one the other day, couldn’t figure out how Doug went out to get four refills and came home with five. It’s empty, labeled with a request to slip in a few loose coins and take it to the Relay for Life.

Wish we could say Islanders dreamed this up themselves, but they didn’t. It’s national, begun 28 years ago, when a doctor in Tacoma, Wash., let a few friends know he would try to run 24 hours, all the while soliciting funds for cancer research. The following year, more than 300 admirers joined him. From there to here, it’s been one long benevolent handoff, with other recent events on the Mainland in Niagara Falls and at Reservoir Park.

Here, registration begins at 1 p.m., and after considerable socializing and a volleyball tournament (ages 13-18), ceremonies begin at 6 p.m., followed by a survivors’ lap at 7, a glorious trot for those who’ve beaten cancer. Then come luminaires, (lighted candles in colorful bags), lighting the way from 10 p.m. as the individuals and relay teams step into one of the year’s shortest nights.

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