Nearly everyone has been personally affected by cancer in one way or another, and the American Cancer Society and the Clearview Regional School District are once again getting the community together to raise money to find a cure.
The second annual Gloucester County Relay for Life will be held at the Clearview Regional football field (625 Breakneck Road, Mullica Hill) on June 7 from 6 p.m. to midnight. All are welcome to attend the event. Donations to teams or the society can be made online at RelayForLife.org/GloucesterCountyNJ. Currently the event has $14,000 in donations.
The event is rain or shine. If there are thunderstorms, it will be moved inside the high school.
This year is the second year Clearview has been the host of the countywide Relay for Life. In years past, multiple events took place throughout the county.
Junior Dawson Nailor has been leading this year’s efforts to organize the event, which he’s been involved in since he was 4, when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“My family was huge in my fight, and my brother is only a year or two older, and my parents were amazing,” said Nailor about his family’s support. “People who I didn’t know always came in to give me and my family food. I was in the hospital for 40 days when I was 5 and my mom slept on an air mattress while I was there.”
Nailor went through remission eight or nine years ago (he couldn’t remember exactly when), and has been attending a survivorship program at CHOP since then.
“My family’s been doing Relay since I was born, and got into when I was diagnosed. They went to Marlton for 17 years,” said Nailor. “I did it for 12 years. Last year was my first year coordinating it, and I’ve been the team captain for three years.”
Nailor added the event is a way for everyone in the community to come together as one in the fight against cancer. He added Clearview’s graduation classes (2019, 2020, 2021 and 2022) each have campsites in the football field, as well as neighboring high school Washington Township.
“Each team has their own campsite and we have 15 teams signed up,” said Monica Nammour, community development manager of the American Cancer Society – Northeast Region. “We’ll have popcorn, luminaria bags being sold, there will be activities such as a volleyball tournament, relay T-shirt being given out and a few friendly competitions.”
Several ceremonies will be taking place throughout the night to celebrate those who beat cancer, and remember those who lost their battle against cancer. Survivors and their caregivers are given medals for beating cancer and a chance to walk the track.
In the luminaria ceremony, the high school’s track is lined with the names of those who passed away from cancer, the stadium lights are shut off and people walk in silence with a glow stick.
“They’re then asked to crack their glow sticks if they’ve been impacted by cancer and at the end, everybody’s glow stick is cracked to show that they’ve been impacted by cancer,” said Nammour.
Nammour said she’s been personally affected by cancer with losing her grandmother when Nammour was 7 years old, and with her aunt beating breast cancer.
In addition to the campsites, this year’s theme for the event is a Hawaiian Luau to “wave goodbye to cancer,” which was decided by the Clearview student committee. The theme will also be reflected in the survivors tent.
“Everyone knows someone or knows of someone affected by cancer and it’s a way for people to come out and see everyone come together through the hardships cancer can bring,” said Nailor.
“It gives you a sense of community and to know that you’re not in this alone,” said Nammour. “I think you don’t really see that often, and it shows it takes a village to beat cancer. It’s also for a great cause, and the money raised goes to help finding a cure for cancer.”
If you wish to volunteer for the Relay For Life at Clearview, visit RelayForLife.org/GLoucesterCountyNJ and click the SignUp Genius link. If you wish to volunteer for the American Cancer Society, call (800) 227-2345 or visit Cancer.org/Volunteer.