The large purple ribbons displayed around town can mean only one thing – The Pahrump Relay For Life returns to Petrack Park on Saturday.
The event is the main fundraiser for the national American Cancer Society.
It also serves as a way to remember and pay tribute to loved ones who are survivors and those who have passed away from the disease.
The efforts of caregivers are also extolled.
Organizer Marian Maxfield said the event is scheduled to begin at 4 p.m., with more than 20 teams.
“We are having a survivor/caregiver free dinner at 4:30 p.m., and everyone has to register first, then they will get a wristband,” she said. “The opening ceremony will be Saturday night at 6 p.m. and the first lap is the survivor lap. All of the survivors will get a free purple T-shirt.”
Maxfield said individuals and teams will walk laps at a designated area at the park.
“The survivors will walk the very first lap and then the caregivers will join in,” she said. “This is an overnight event. The main the reason it’s overnight, is because cancer never sleeps. After the survivors and caregivers, it will be open. All of the teams will have booths and they will be selling items as a fundraiser. Of course, this is open to the public.”
Maxfield said one of the most poignant aspects of the relay is the Luminaria ceremony, which is scheduled to take place after sunset.
“That will start at 8:45 p.m. on Saturday evening,” she said. “The luminaria bags are available at the park and people can decorate them right there. We place them around the track and they will hold candles or glow sticks. We will also have perhaps a singer or someone reading poetry.”
Additionally, Maxfield said the ceremony will include the reading of names of those who have passed away.
“We will turn off the lights and play music on the sound system,” she said. “The participants walk around the track with the luminaria bags lighting the way. Karen Jackson from KNYE Radio, along with Rodney Camacho, will read all of the names on each of the bags. The bags will display messages in the memory of loved ones and that usually takes about 10 minutes or so.”
The relay runs through Sunday at noon, with a closing ceremony planned.
“We will be serving a $5 breakfast at 8 a.m., and we will also have a church service before the big closing ceremony,” she said. “All of the money goes to Relay For Life, which is then donated to the American Cancer Society.”
All monies raised, Maxfield said, also benefits community programs.
“We have all different kinds of programs,” she said. “We pay for transportation for the cancer patients because there are no facilities in Pahrump for chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Those are all in Las Vegas so we arrange for transportation and we pay for fuel for them to go into Las Vegas.”
Additionally, Maxfield said, a shop along Postal Drive in town also assists cancer patients and caregivers.
“We also have what’s known as the Cancer Closet and that provides free wigs for the women and various things they might need, such as blankets and scarves,” she said. “That is all at your fingertips. It is located on Postal Drive. They can go there and get a free wig if they wish.”
Last year’s Relay For Life generated roughly $60,000.
Maxfield said organizers are hoping to best that amount this year.
“I think our goal this year is $65,000,” she said. “I did a personal fundraiser at the Hubb Bar and Saloon called ‘Paint the Hubb Purple,” she said. “It was such a success and I want to thank Erin and Andrea for hosting the event. The following weekend they had the ‘Bowl for the Cure’ fundraiser which raised $1,000, at the Pahrump Nugget.”
Maxfield said there’s still room for individuals or even teams to participate in the event.
“It might be late for some to form a team, but individuals are most certainly welcome,” she said “Anybody who wants to register online beforehand, may do so because it will save time at the park. All they have to do is go to relayforlife.orgpahrump. It is free to register and they can join a team or not. All of the teams are listed online at that website.”
Maxfield noted that $27,792.80 has been raised so far.
Aside from the 25 teams already participating, at least 422 additional participants have also registered.
Contact reporter Selwyn Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter: @pvtimes