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Hudson -- For 24 hours on June 21, the city of Hudson will be dedicated to fighters and survivors.
From 10 a.m. June 21 to 10 a.m. on June 22, those who have survived cancer as well as those who have lost relatives to the disease and those who are still battling will join together in honor and remembrance of a day in the life of a cancer patients life. The honorees, part of the annual Hudson Relay for Life at Hudson Memorial Stadium, will also carry the hopes of never losing another friend or loved one to cancer.
"Relay for Life is an organized, overnight community fundraising walk," according to Katelyn Dye, entertainment chair for Hudson's Relay for Life. "Teams of people camp out around a track, with members of each team taking turns walking around the track. There is food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie and it is a family-friendly environment for the entire community."
Due to the team aspect of the event, individual participants are not required to be there the entire time, Dye said.
"But it's so much fun, you'll find it hard to leave," Dye added.
The ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. with the national anthem and end 24 hours later with the closing ceremonies.
"We have four great performers with sound done by The Ohio Music Shop located in Kent," Dye said. "The Akron Ducks' mascot Webster will be making an appearance around 2 p.m., and the fireworks start at 9:30."
Relay is a fundraising arm of the American Cancer Society. Team members have raised money through a variety of methods, all which is donated help find a cure.
The activities for each local relay are different, but some themes are common to each, Dye said.
"During the Survivors Lap, all cancer survivors at the event take the first lap around the track, celebrating their victory over cancer while cheered on by the other participants who line the track," Dye said. "Relay For Life events also recognize and celebrate caregivers, who give time, love, and support to their friends, family, neighbors, and coworkers facing cancer."
A Fight Back Ceremony is also a common theme at relays.
"This emotionally powerful ceremony inspires relay participants to take action. The Fight Back Ceremony symbolizes the emotional commitment each of us can make in the fight against cancer," Dye added.
The Luminaria Ceremony is one of the highlights of each event.
"The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark, so we can remember people we have lost to cancer, honor people who have fought cancer in the past, and support those whose fight continues," according to Dye. "Candles are lit inside of personalized bags and are placed around the Relay track as glowing tributes to those who've been affected by cancer."
Dye joined her first relay team in 2007. However, Relay for Life is more than just a 24-hour event for Dye -- it's much more.
"In February 2010, my step father, Stephen W. Olszak, was diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer and was only given 18 months to live," Dye said.
Not knowing how to handle the situation, Dye thought back to her time on the 2007 Relay team, she said.
"I remembered the togetherness, the understanding and the fight of everyone involved," Dye remembers.
Dye, having moved away from Canton, where her team was located, researched local teams in the Portage County area, she said. After being a team captain in Portage County, she joined as a chair for the Hudson relay.
"I am majoring in marketing at Kent State University and minoring in non profits and I have grown to love The American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, more than any other non profit, mainly because it hits home -- my step father lost his battle with his cancer in September 2012," Dye said. "Thanks to Relay, I have gained some amazing friends that were there for me and help me get through life each day at a time."
Last year Hudson Relay for Life raised $99, 918, Dye said.
"This year's goal is $110,000, which I am positive Hudson is fully capable of doing this year," Dye added.
For more information visit www.relayforlife.org/learn/fundraising.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
10 a.m. - Home bleachers --Tiffany Hill will perform the National Anthem. Opening speakers will be Pastor Wides of Hudson Community Chapel and David Michael Basil of Hudson City Council.
Survivor Lap and Team Parade will begin at the track with Dennis Darby singing "Better Days to Come."
11 a.m. - A survivor lunch will be held at the Gaget building. All survivors and one guest are invited to celebrate with lunch.
11:30 a. m. - A martial arts demonstration sponsored by Savage MMA & Fitness LLC will begin on the main stage.
A Road to Recovery Parade will begin at the track.
A Road to Recovery Race will begin at Hope Stage and a Shop for a Cure will continue until 6 p.m. at the activity tent.
12:45 p.m. - Twin Atomic performs at Hope Stage.
1 p.m. - Flash, the Kent State University Mascot will meet and greet guests at the track, sponsored by Kent State University.
2 p.m. - Webster, the Akron Rubber Ducks mascot will meet at greet at the track, sponsored by the Akron Rubber Ducks
2:30 p.m. - Melanie May will perform on the Hope Stage.
Chester Cheetah and Sailor Jack will meet and greet guests at the track, sponsored by Frito Lay.
A children's carnival will be continue until 5 p.m. at the track and a photo booth will be open until 8 p.m. near the Survivor Tent, sponsored by Secret Cellar.
A live auction will be at the Hope Stage and survivor refreshments will be served at the survivor tent.
5 p.m. - A Fight Back Ceremony will begin at the Hope Stage and track.
5:15 p.m. - A kids walk and parade will begin at the track, sponsored by TLC Academy.
5: 30 p.m. - The Miss Relay Contest will begin at Hope Stage and Locks for Love will be at the activity tent until 8 p.m., sponsored by Snip It's & Gavin Scott.
A frozen T-Shirt contest will begin and Dixie Soul will perform at Hope Stage.
A team captain lap will begin at the track.
7:30 p.m. - A committee and caregiver lap will begin at the track.
A purple-themed lap will begin at the track.
Amanda Joy Hall will perform on Hope Stage.
9 p.m. - The Luminaria Ceremony and fireworks will begin on Hope Stage and the track, sponsored by American Fireworks.
10 p.m. - Dixie Soul will perform on Hope Stage and Quarters For A Cure will begin at the track.
A Survivor Birthday Party will be at the Survivor Tent, sponsored by Em's Luscious Confections & Out Of the Box.
A cowboy/cowgirl theme lap will begin at the track.
11 p.m. - Dixie Soul will perform on Hope Stage.
A Crazy Hair/Hat and Fashion Police themed lap will begin at the track.
10 a.m. June 22 closing ceremony.