On Friday, June 11, Moorestown’s Relay for Life organizers will light up the town’s central thoroughfare. A Luminaria Drive By will take place along Main Street at 7:30 p.m. to keep the event’s spirit alive.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. In a typical year, Relay is a team fundraising event with members taking turns walking around a track with each event spanning between six and 24 hours in length. Each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps.
While this year’s Relay will not feature the usual walk, residents are still encouraged to form teams and raise as much money as possible. No donation is too small. The goal is to raise around $50,000.
Vinny Napolitano, a member of the event’s executive team, said when they started planning at the beginning of 2021, the team had no idea where the state would be in terms of COVID-19 restrictions. They approached the district about potentially hosting Relay at Moorestown High School’s track but were told the district wasn’t comfortable hosting events.
Uncertain whether people could gather together at all by June, the team decided to forego an in-person walk and instead, convert the event into a drive-by.
In years past, around dusk, Relay for Life has held a Luminaria ceremony to honor all of those impacted by cancer. Each Luminaria bag represents either someone who lost their life to cancer or a survivor. So, they thought why not set the Luminara up along Main Street.
The drive by will take place along Main Street with a luminary display in front of the Moorestown Community House and additional luminarias down Main Street. Participants are encouraged to decorate their cars, dress in Relay attire and support Main Street businesses once done with the event.
Napolitano said with the pandemic winding down, people are itching to get out of their houses, and Main Street seemed like a perfect spot to set up. The team has coordinated with businesses who will put luminaria bags in front of their storefronts.
Individuals can purchase a luminaria bag for $10 in honor of a loved one who lost their battle with cancer, is currently fighting or who is a cancer survivor.
Participants can sign up, build a team and fundraise through June 11. The American Cancer Society not only helps fund cancer research, but actively helps those battling the disease. Napolitano said when his grandfather was undergoing cancer treatment, the American Cancer Society provided food and lodging near his grandfather’s treatment center in Philadelphia.
While residents may still be reluctant to gather, he’s hopeful they can gather in their cars and take some time to drive by a lit up Main Street while remembering that we are all still involved in the fight against cancer.
“We’re still here; the event is still alive,” he said. “We’re still fighting this fight.”
To learn more about Relay for Life or to get involved, visit http://RelayForLife.org/MoorestownNJ.