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Eastern to Participate in Relay for Life

Written by Kate Harner

RelayforLife 2010.JPG

                        Eastern students at Relay for Life in 2009.

Willimantic, CT -- Eastern Connecticut State University will host the Windham Area Relay for Life from 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 16, to 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 17. The relay, which benefits the American Cancer Society, will take place at the Eastern Sports Complex in Mansfield. Local organizations and businesses, as well as Eastern students, faculty and staff, are encouraged to participate. The money raised through the relay will support cancer research, education, advocacy and patient service programs.

In 2009, the Windham Area Relay raised more than $185,000. Ninety-five teams with 1,268 registered walkers participated. According to many of the walkers, every participant understands the importance of the relay.

"My grandfather passed away from cancer, so Relay for Life is near to my heart," says Alex Cross, a junior at Eastern. "I support the American Cancer Society's research because I want a cure. I don't want anyone else to suffer from cancer."

The relay starts with the traditional survivors' lap, which is dedicated to those who have battled or continue to battle cancer. Afterward, team members walk laps throughout the day and night. Each team provides food and games and has a tent decorated in this year's theme, "Let's Celebrate More Birthdays!" Participants can also enter the daylong raffle to bid on gift baskets provided by the teams. When night falls, the relay will hold its luminaria ceremony, a time when family members and friends of those affected by cancer light candles placed in white paper bags lining the track.

The first Windham Area Relay was held in 1997. Twenty teams participated and raised $33,000. It is part of the American Cancer Society's nationwide event. Citizens of Andover, Ashford, Chaplin, Colchester, Columbia, Coventry, Eastford, Hampton, Hebron, Lebanon, Mansfield, Scotland, Willington and Windham participate in the Windham Area Relay each year.

For more information on how to get involved with Relay for Life, contact Chris Lataille Santiago at (860) 208-9916 or, or Jessie Shea at (860) 208-3647 or

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