The Camden County Relay for life is on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m at Veterans Memorial Park, 1261 Chews Landing Road in Clementon.
Life is a gift. This is something Alex Basseches, senior community development manager at the American Cancer Society, learned at the University of Pittsburgh in 2009 when he walked to support his friend who lost her mother to breast cancer. Ever since, he has been actively involved organizing and participating in the nationwide event, Relay for Life.
“Relay For Life is a tangible representation of everything we are doing as a community to support those around us and serves as a support network for anyone affected by cancer,” Basseches said.
Basseches has been involved with Relay For Life as an American Cancer Society employee for more than two years and says supporting his friend in college inspired him to get involved. According to Basseches, it provides hope and support to those affected by cancer.
Residents can expect an evening full of activities, leading late into the evening. The relay starts with an opening ceremony, where everyone attending the event or who contributed is honored, followed by the actual walk. After, a Luminaria Ceremony is performed, where victims of cancer, past or present can be supported, ending the walk with a closing ceremony.
Camden County’s Relay For Life theme this year is “Decades of Hope,” which calls for participants to dress up and decorate their campsites based on a decade of their choice, according to Basseches. Unique to this year’s walk is a variety of new activities, including a cardboard box car drag race and a Decades of Celebrities talent show.
Entering the ninth season, the Camden County Relay has raised $546,553 over the past eight years, according to Basseches. The relay typically raises anywhere from $55,000 to $80,000 in a given year, with last year pulling in $79,500. With the relay meeting previous goals, Basseches hopes to hit this year’s goal of $75,000.
“Relay For Life is a fun way to show your support,” Basseches said. “Cancer is a difficult and emotional subject for anyone affected, but Relay enables people to have fun.”
Not only do proceeds go to finding a cure for the disease, but Relay For Life events also fund patient services and programs, such as the Hope Lodge, Road to Recovery, free wigs, patient navigators and more, according to Basseches.
Volunteers and Basseches work hand-in-hand to educate the community on Relay for Life and work to achieve fundraising goals, among other responsibilities.
“Relay For Life is a tangible representation of everything we are doing as a community to support those around us and serves as a support network for anyone affected by cancer,” Basseches said. “The event promotes hope in the face of difficult odds, but shows that when we come together, we can achieve amazing results.”
The Camden County Relay for life is on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m at Veterans Memorial Park, 1261 Chews Landing Road in Clementon. To donate, residents can go to to www.RelayForLife.org/CamdenCountyNJ.