Paper Luminaries and Relay for Life

By Paige Wills in Why Choose Paper?

English: OAK HARBOR, Wash. (June 6, 2008) Lumi...

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March is usually associated with basketball. However, according to an article on Yahoo News!, March is also National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

I recently heard a speech about Relay for Life. I thought since it was National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, I’d write about the importance paper plays during Relay for Life ceremonies.

According to Relay For Life’s website, white paper bags are decorated to honor loved ones and friends affected by cancer.

Friends and family members honor loved ones affected by cancer by personalizing each luminary with memories, drawings, or pictures.

These paper bags are then turned into luminaries. Sand and candles are placed inside of each bag. The luminaries light the way and are a beautiful tribute to those lost and affected by cancer. Loved ones then take a silent walk around the track looking at the luminaries.

Even though it is a beautiful tribute, Relay For Life’s website states “All resolve to keep fighting to save more lives so no more luminaria bear the names of those lost to the disease.” Hopefully, one day these will be plain,, white paper bags or survivor-only luminaries as there will someday be a cure for cancer.

I have participated in a luminary ceremony for my grandma at the graveyard. I imagine it was a beautiful sight at night seeing all the luminaries honoring loved ones.

It’s truly amazing how beautiful a plain, white paper bag can become and what it can stand for.

To find out how to get involved or how to dedicate a luminary at a Relay For Life event in your neighborhood, check out Relay For Life’s website.

Have you ever participated in Relay For Life or created a luminary?

Check out this short YouTube video showcasing Relay For Life’s luminaries.

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