The other night, at an American Cancer Society Relay For Life team captain’s meeting, we were talking to some of our new team captains about selling luminaria, torches and balloons for the luminaria ceremony.
The luminary, which is sort of the symbol of Relay, is a small, white paper bag with a candle inside (as well as some sand to keep it from tipping over). For a donation to ACS, you can personalize the luminary to pay some sort of cancer-related tribute – remembering someone you’ve lost to cancer, rejoicing with a cancer survivor, encouraging someone who is currently in treatment, or thanking your caregivers.
During the luminaria ceremony – a part of every Relay event worldwide – the electric lights are turned off and the relay track is lit only by the luminaria (and related tributes, about which I’ll tell you in a second). A recitation remembers those whose lives have been touched, or taken, by cancer. It’s indescribable and incredibly moving. Even if you are not a member of a Relay team, you should make a point of going to your local Relay, patronizing the various concession tents, and sticking around for the luminaria ceremony. I guarantee you will be moved.
Anyway, at our Relay, in addition to the luminaria, we have tiki-like torches with engraved nameplates. Last year, we had intended to launch “sky lanterns” – paper hot-air balloons which are lit by small candles, sort of like floating luminaria. The sky lanterns are used by Relays in other places and were checked out and approved by our local fire department. But, just a few days before Relay, we discovered that they’re technically illegal in Tennessee. So, we replaced them at the last minute with LED-lit balloons. The LED balloons were beautiful – I think they were even better than the sky lanterns would have been.
I had included a shot of the balloon launch as part of my complete Relay video from last year, but after our discussion the other night I agreed to make a video with just the balloon launch which could be used to show potential donors what it looks like. Here is that video:
If you’re interested in purchasing a luminary, you can go to my Relay page and do it online. If you’re interested in purchasing a torch or an LED balloon, contact me and I’ll get you the details.