Fight Cancer with the Relay for Life of Greater Rochester on June 17

Empowering the Community to Fight Back Against Cancer and Save Lives

Relay For Life is an event that brings together friends, families, businesses, hospitals, schools, faith-based groups, people from all walks of life – all aimed at celebrating the lives of those who have had cancer, remembering those who have been lost, and fighting back against the disease. This event is family friendly; and open to the public. There will be entertainment and events all day long.

This year’s Relay For Life of Greater Rochester will take place on June 17 at St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center (SJHMC) at the Rochester Hills Cancer Center at 1901 Star-Batt Drive, Rochester Hills, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing through 12:00 noon.

Relay for Life Victory Lap from 2016

Relay for Life Victory Lap from 2016

“Relay For Life is all about our community uniting together to help create a world with less cancer and more birthdays,” said Cheryl Satterthwaite, event lead. “Volunteers and participants who are willing to give their time and energy to this exciting event are making a commitment to let the Rochester community know that cancer can be defeated. We honor those who continue to fight their cancer battle and remember those who fought diligently but the cancer won. ”

The Opening Ceremony, which begins at 10:00 a.m., brings everyone together for a high-energy event kickoff that celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer and reminds us all that while we are winning this battle, fighting cancer is a year-round priority. The National Anthem will be performed by Jennifer Kincer and Friends, a welcome from the Mayors of Rochester and Rochester Hills, respectively and a word from Presenting Sponsor, Volkswagen of America.

A special Survivor Ceremony will take place at 11:00 a.m. and members of the community are encouraged to attend, with special emphasis on cancer survivors and their caregivers. Our keynote speaker for this year is Cheryl Martz, newly retired leader of the Rochester Cancer Support Group. She was diagnosed with cancer in 1989, just one year after moving to Michigan from Texas, her passion became helping others who were on the journey with cancer. Since 1990, she has dedicated her time and her talents and her passion to directing the St. Paul’s United Methodist Cancer Support Group in the Rochester area. She has recently retired from that position after 27 years. And to quote her, “what an honor it has been.”

A Victory Lap, where participating cancer survivors are given special t-shirts to wear as they, along with their caregivers, lead a special trip around the track in honor of their triumph over cancer, follows the ceremony. Throughout the event, there will be a survivor tent that will offer both survivors and caregivers an opportunity to experience healing, receive support, and celebrate their collective victory over cancer.

Throughout the afternoon and early evening, we have a line-up of entertainment including music by the Groove Suns, Catching Fire and Irish music and dance from Motor City Irish Dance of Rochester, MI. The Rochester Junior Woman’s Club will host children’s Games. A Silent Auction will take place during the afternoon with the final bids to be submitted by 5:00 p.m.

At the heart of this emotional event is the Luminaria Ceremony, which will occur at sundown (around 10:00 p.m.). Participants with the names of family and friends who have faced cancer decorate the luminaries. The ceremony, led by Rochester Pride, is followed by a silent lap around the track to honor those who have survived and to remember those we have lost.

Anyone interested in learning more about Relay for Life or in joining a team is encouraged to contact Rochelle Holman by phone at 248-663-3419, by email at, or by visiting the website at

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