Relay for Life to Honor Caner Survivors and Caregivers

Relay for Life of Greater Rochester to Honor Caner Survivors and Caregivers

Cancer survivors and caregivers are invited to participate in a Victory Lap at the Relay For Life of the Greater Rochester Area at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, June 18 at SJHMC Rochester Hills Cancer Center at 1901 Star-Batt Drive, Rochester Hills.

The celebration activities offer both survivors and caregivers an opportunity to experience healing, receive support, and celebrate their collective victory over cancer.

Relay for Life

Relay for Life

“We are inviting all cancer survivors, no matter if it’s been one day or one decade since their diagnosis, to come out and be celebrated,” said Erin Perrault, Event Lead, “And, caregivers, whether presently or previously providing care, are also encouraged to participate in the ceremony.”

Registration for the Victory Lap will run from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. Participating cancer survivors who have pre-registered will be given a commemorative T-shirt to proudly wear as they lead a special Victory Lap around the track in honor of their triumph over cancer.

Relay for Life Victory Lap

Relay for Life Victory Lap

Prior to the Victory Lap, guests will have a chance to hear from Susan Foltin, an 18 year Breast Cancer Survivor and a Research Lab Specialist at the University of Michigan. Susan will share her story as a cancer survivor and how her work benefits from the funds raised by the Relay For Life events. Born and raised in Ann Arbor, MI, she received her degree in Biochemistry from Eastern Michigan University in 1988. In the summer of 1998, at the age of 34, she was diagnosed with stage 2B breast cancer.  While undergoing surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatment, she took advantage of being a member of the Michigan Jaycees to start a state-wide program called CAPE, which stood for cancer awareness, prevention and education. During this time she attended many Relay for Life programs all over the state as well as many of cancer programs like the first Susan G Komen 3-Day in 2002. Today Ms. Foltin studies head and neck cancers in the department of Otorhinolaryngology at the University of Michigan and continues to be a supporter of Relay for Life.

The Victory Lap is an inspiring lap that honors the courage of all who have defeated cancer. Cancer survivors (anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer) join together to walk the opening lap — unified in victory and in hope. It’s an emotional example that Relay For Life is ensuring more lives are saved every year. After the walk, all the survivors and caregivers are invited back to the Survivor Tent to celebrate and enjoy lunch.

Again this year the “Handprint” victory banner will be available for survivors to place their hand print on the banner with their survivor anniversary date below their hand. For those who have previously put their handprint on the banner, they will celebrate another year of survivorship next to their handprint, along with each of the previous years that they have participated in the Relay For Life.

Lauren Sitko Handprint

Lauren Sitko Handprint

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.

It is also important to acknowledge the caregivers as part of Relay For Life; they are the individuals who stand by a loved one during treatment – through the highs and lows and through the battle that every survivor faces each day. “It’s important to note that caregivers feel the same emotional rollercoaster through the journey,” said Erin Perrault; Event Lead. “It’s easy to pick out the caregivers who stand by and hold a loved one’s hand, but there are caregivers out there who show their support in different ways. Whether it’s a volunteer giving someone a ride to treatment, someone raising money for Relay For Life, or someone showing that they care with a comforting smile or a light-hearted joke, everyone is, has been, and will be a caregiver for that special someone in need.”

Also at the heart of this emotional event is the Luminaria Ceremony, which occurs just after sundown. After dark, we honor people who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost during the Luminaria Ceremony. Candles are lit inside bags filled with sand, each one bearing the name of a person touched by cancer. The lit bags line the track often into the morning hours.

The atmosphere of Relay For Life is one of camaraderie and celebration, providing an opportunity for cancer survivors to pass the torch of hope on to those still battling cancer or those who might be touched by cancer in the future. “The sight of the luminaria glowing in the darkness is breathtaking,” said Erin Perrault, Event Lead. “The Luminaria Ceremony brings to light the impact cancer has had on our community and inspires us to do everything possible to find a cure.”

Make a difference and be a part of the Relay For Life of the Greater Rochester Area. This year’s event will take place on June 18 at SJHMC Rochester Hills Cancer Center at 1901 Star-Batt Drive, Rochester Hills, beginning at 9:00 a.m. and continuing through 12:00 a.m.

To register as a survivor, start a team of your own, join an existing team, or make a donation to this event, please visit Relay Online: Sign up today to become a part of the Relay For Life effort in our community and you too can fight back against cancer. If you have any questions, please contact Rachel Scheich by phone at 248-663-3401 or by email at or you can visit the website at to get more information on the event, start a team online, make a donation or purchase a luminaria. You can also follow the event on Facebook at “Relay for Life of Greater Rochester.”

About Rochester Media

Rochester Media publishes The Community Edge digital newsletter of recently posted articles from Rochester Media, a hyper-local news outlet covering all things in and around Rochester, Rochester Hills, and Oakland Township. Send us you press releases and news happenings to

Speak Your Mind