Camden County Relay for Life bringing out the superhero in all of us

Relay for Life encourages capes and tights for fundraiser

Camden County Relay for Life is running toward its goal of defeating cancer and is doing it in style this weekend in Gloucester Township. The relay’s theme this year is superheroes, “anyone can be a hero…be our hero.” The idea is that you can be a hero in your own right just by taking a stand and helping to fight cancer.

The theme is very important, as this is the 10-year anniversary of Relay for Life at the Gloucester Township location. Many of the games and activities will tie-in to the theme such as a Captain America game and a superhero dress-up talent show. Participants can dress as their favorite Marvel Comics, DC Comics or Star Wars character while supporting a great cause.

Gina McAleese, event manager for Camden County Relay for Life, knows it takes a lot to put on an event of this magnitude and she wouldn’t be able to do it without her volunteers who all helped come up with this year’s theme.

“We take a vote every year on what kind of theme we want it to be and I tell them to get creative and come up with something. We wanted it to be super special for this 10-year anniversary. In the past, we have done things like Disney. Last year was different decades, we did like ’50s, ’60s and ’80s, all that good stuff,” said McAleese.

One of the most valuable things about Relay for Life is its ability to bring attention to the cause of fighting cancer.

“It’s to share our mission, which is to eradicate cancer. I think we do a fairly decent job of sharing our mission,” she said. “We have all these activities and games going on because the whole point is to stay active for 12 hours. The whole concept behind it is that cancer never sleeps so neither do we and that is why we stay active for all 12 hours of the event.”

This year’s goal is to raise $60,000, and they have already raised nearly $12,000.

Relay For Life events also fund patient services and programs, such as the Hope Lodge, Road to Recovery, patient navigators and more, according to McAleese. These services and programs take place at area hospitals such as Cooper University Health Care and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Food trucks will be available during the event, including Not Your Mama’s Tacos and Wendy’s.

The luminaria ceremony will cap off the event at night.

“It’s a remembrance ceremony. It’s either in honor or in remembrance of someone who has been touched by cancer. People make them in honor of someone who is a survivor or someone who has unfortunately passed away. It’s a great way to remember them and it’s the most amazing part of a relay,” said McAleese.

This year, the relay is putting a spin on the ceremony. The survivors are going to be honoring the caregivers with luminaria bags at the Relay for Life to show how much they are appreciated as well in this fight.

The Camden County Relay for Life is on Saturday, June 8, 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.