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Scaled-down Relay for Life event planned Saturday

Reception will keep important traditions

The Relay for Life of La Salle County’s annual event will be smaller this summer, but still keep many traditions.

A reservations-only reception is scheduled 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Streator Knights of Columbus, 806 Oakley Ave. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. No more reservations are being taken at this time.

An overnight event, which served as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, was originally scheduled for June 9 in Streator’s City Park, but it was canceled this summer for various reasons, with the reception in its place. Organizers are hoping the overnight event will return in 2019.

“It’s a different type of event,” said Karen Ranger, an organizer. “It’s not our full-blown event, but it’s our 22nd year, and we want to continue to honor survivors, our teams that raise money and our corporate sponsors. Next June we hope to be back in the park.”

At Saturday’s reception, Heather Patterson will be the survivor speaker. Mike Schulte, of the American Cancer Society, also will speak.

Survivors will be honored. They’ll receive shirts, medals and a goodie bag.

A luminaria will take place at the conclusion. The lights will be dimmed, glowsticks will be handed out and “Amazing Grace” will be played. Each light represents a life — a life taken by cancer, a survivor of cancer or a person still fighting the disease. A big birthday cake will represent more birthdays for survivors.

An empty table ceremony also is planned. A small round table with a white linen cloth and an empty chair memorializes those lost to cancer. Other items on the table represent different aspects of cancer; a lemon on the plate for the struggles, a salt for tears shed, etc.

Ice cream and cupcakes will be served.

The first Relay for Life overnight event was held in 1997, and it moved from Illinois Valley Community College to Streator City Park in 2007.

More than $120,000 was raised last year. Less than 100 people are expected at Saturday’s reception. Roughly $45,700 has been raised of a $102,000 goal for the American Cancer Society, according to Relay for Life’s website on the event.

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