The Fairfield community will gather this Saturday for the 13th annual Relay for Life at the Fairfield Ludlowe High School track to celebrate those who have battled and beaten cancer and remember those who lost the fight. The Relay also raises money for the fight to find a cure for cancer.
The Relay begins at 3 p.m. and lasts through the night, ending with a sunrise ceremony at 5:30 on Sunday.
Co-chairman Michelle Cole said that they are expecting about 5,000 people to attend the event, with 164 teams participating, drawing mainly from Fairfield, Bridgeport and Easton. They have already raised $156,000, but are hoping to reach their goal of $300,000, according to Cole, who is co-chairing the event with Stephanie Parker.
They are also hoping to receive 200 ponytails, which will be donated to create wigs for cancer patients. Anyone with a ponytail over eight inches long can have it cut by Trendsetters Salon of Fairfield from 5 to 9 p.m. as part of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths program.
Sheryl Grabiec of Fairfield is the Relay's honorary chairman. She was nominated by her 26-year-old daughter, Rachael, who said of her mother, "my mother is caring, hard working and the strongest person I have ever known in my life. My mother wants to help people that are going through the same experiences as she did and to raise awareness in the community."
Grabiec was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer in 2004 and again in 2007, but is now cancer free.
The team Chad for Life has raised the most money so far, $22,565. The team is captained by Taylor and Mac Jacobs, whose father, Chad, was recently diagnosed with cancer. Another team, Just Beat It, was started by Fairfield Prep junior Sean Keane in honor of Ryan Brennan, a fellow Prep junior who is currently undergoing cancer treatment.
The survivor reception will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday with the opening ceremonies beginning a 7 p.m. and the first lap at 7:30. The Luminaria Ceremony, candle lighting for those who have passed away, is at 9:15 p.m. There will be multiple performances by local bands and groups, such as the School House Rock Band, Emily Anderson, Norma Pfriem Children's Choir and the Ludlowe a Capella choir, whose director Kevin Contellese was recently diagnosed.
It is not too late to get involved and donate money or take part in Saturday's events. For more information see the Relay for Life Fairfield page .
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.