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“Super Heroes” join forces to defeat cancer at North Channel Relay for Life

100-year-old Lavoice Smallwood, center, along with her family prepares to lead cancer survivors in the Survivor's Lap. Smallwood was the honored guest at North Channel Area’s Relay for Life May 2.

100-year-old Lavoice Smallwood, center, along with her family prepares to lead cancer survivors in the Survivor’s Lap. Smallwood was the honored guest at North Channel Area’s Relay for Life May 2.

It was a night for celebration, reflection and fun as hundreds of community members joined forces to “finish the fight” against cancer during the North Channel Area Relay for Life on May 2 at the North Shore Ninth Grade Campus track.

The theme of this year’s event was “Super Heroes: Finishing the Fight Against Cancer.” Many of the teams, sponsors and steering committee members wore super hero shirts or their favorite super hero costume as they got into the spirit of the celebration.

“This event was all about celebrating our survivors, remembering those who lost the battle and to fight back through raising funds to provide important cancer research and treatment to bring an end to this terrible disease,” said Darcy Blackstock, event chair for the North Channel Area Relay for Life.

Preliminary totals showed that the North Channel event raised more than $95,000. However, funds will continue to be raised until the end of the Relay calendar year on Aug. 31.

One of the highlights of the event was when 100-year-old cancer survivor Lavoice Smallwood shared some inspiring words with those in attendance before she made the Survivors’ Lap around the track. She has been cancerfree since 2001.

“You must always keep a positive outlook in everything you do,” she said. “I believe that’s what helped me beat cancer and what has kept me alive this long and also the grace of God.”

Local companies, area schools and other groups set up tents for the all-night event. Food, special games and music added to the lively atmosphere. Platinum Sponsors included Briggs Equipment and the North Shore Rotary Club, while Dow Emergency Center served as a Gold Sponsor. LyondellBasell served as a Silver Sponsor for the event, as well as Dependable Diesel. Electro-Quip was a Bronze Sponsor and Chic-Fil-A and Kroger were In-Kind sponsors.

At dusk, the Luminaria Ceremony was held to remember those who valiantly fought the fight, those who continue to fight and those who have lost their battle with cancer. Guests at the Relay purchased bags and designed them in memory or in honor of a family member or friend and the bag was placed around the track. As the stadium lights went dark, candles inside were lit for the ceremony.

Special event chairpersons for Relay led to lead those in attendance in a variety of fun activities throughout the night, including the “Fight Back” ceremony at midnight. Closing ceremonies were held as time edged toward 6 a.m.

For more information on Relay for Life, please log on to www.relayforlife.org.