SBHS Principal Patrick Burke and students prepare for an assembly about the Relay For Life event at UVM.

SBHS Joins UVM’s Relay For Life

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Thursday April 07, 2016

South Burlington High School’s (SBHS) team Rebels Against Cancer will be participating in the American Cancer Society’s (ACS) Relay For Life at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium, Friday, April 8. The event, which starts at 4 p.m., helps to raise funds to support scientific research, as well as other ACS programs such as Hope Lodge, Road To Recovery Program and the Look Good Feel Better program.

ACS Relay For Life Community Manager Leslye Kenney reports that she has had the pleasure of meeting the team members including SBHS principal Patrick Burke. She says, “Some of these students will be attending UVM in the future and are excited to be able to join the UVM event leaders. They want to help raise awareness, funds, and support for their community.” She adds, “Together, Pat, myself, and these students are making sure that others walking this journey are not alone.”

Relay For Life is a 12-hour, overnight event that serves as a way to celebrate survivors and caregivers, and remember loved ones that have lost the battle with cancer. The overnight aspect is symbolic as it represents a cancer patient’s journey fighting the disease. The event begins when the sun goes down, representing the diagnosis. The middle of the night represents the darkest part of the fight that includes treatment and recovery. The end of the event, when the sun starts to rise again, is symbolic of the end of the fight and the point of remission. Participants walk the track throughout the night, switching off between team members. As Kenney, a cancer survivor herself, puts it, “We walk all night to end the fight.”

This Friday’s event includes free food from Moe’s Southwest Grill, games and activities, and a performance by singer songwriter Josh Panda. According to Kenney, South Burlington’s IHOP Pancakes donated batter for 1 a.m. pancakes. In addition, there will be square dancing, yoga, and a hypnotist on hand as well.

One of the features of the Relay For Life experience is the moving Luminaria Ceremony, which lights up the night with decorated paper bags containing votive candles. Each luminaria is personalized with a name, photo, message or drawing in memory or honor of a friend or loved one who has been affected by cancer. Bags can be purchased for $5 and each one represents a person.

Survivors and caregivers from the community are invited to a special reception at 4:30 p.m. on April 8. Kenney says, “John Adams from Adams Apple Orchard and his wife Peggy are doing a farm to table presentation about cancer fighting foods and will be sharing applesauce made from their fall harvest. We also will have a special pulled pork and coleslaw dinner catered by Smokin’ Butts BBQ.” 

In talking about the reception, Kenney adds, “We want all survivors and caregivers to feel embraced and know they have a place at Relay, where we’re all in the fight together.” People are asked to register for the reception by calling Leslye Kenney at 802- 872-6321.

According to Kenney, it is not too late to register or join an existing team. For more information, visit