Relay for Life celebrates survivors, keeps sights on cure

Published May 23, 2018 at 2:00pm

Relay for Life of Rome celebrated the survivors of all different types of cancers and remembered those who succumbed to cancer with the “Paint the Town Purple” event.

The theme for this year’s relay is “Go Directly to Cure,” which is based on the game, Monopoly.

The Relay for Life Committee invited area businesses, organization, and schools to decorate their facilities with purple ribbons, yard signs, banners and anything purple. 

The committee judged the organizations and businesses on Wednesday, May 16.  Awards will be presented at the closing ceremonies for Relay for Life of Rome on Sunday, June 3 at 10 a.m. at the State School for the Deaf. All home owners are also invited to decorate their homes during the month of May. 

To help bring about awareness of the fight against cancer, the sculptures at Griffiss Business and Technology Park have taken on a purple glow as well. The General Cable water tower is also glowing purple.

The color purple is used as the official color for relay. “Paint the Town Purple” activities are designed to get the community excited about the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Rome, according to event organizers. Awards for Paint the Town Purple, campsites, sponsors and all teams will be presented during Sunday’s closing ceremonies.

Relay For Life is an opportunity for the community to help the American Cancer Society create a world with less cancer and more birthdays by helping people stay well, get well, by finding cures, and by fighting back, the organizers added.

The Relay for Life of Rome will take place from noon Saturday, June 2 through 10 a.m. Sunday, June 3 at the State School for the Deaf on Turin Street. 

Relay for Life of Rome will open with survivors Lisa Kimmel, Karyn Urtz and Sue Hanson of Rome, members of the Relay for Life Committee, sharing their experiences of surviving cancer. Members of the Rome Free Academy Junior Reserve Officers Training Corps will lead survivors along the first lap of relay, while the second lap will be dedicated to caregivers. A caregiver is someone who has helped another during their battle with cancer. Then 35 teams will join the America Cancer Society’s efforts to help fight back and find cures for cancer.

There will be a Survivor Tent with survivors welcoming others. Registration will be at 11 a.m., and a reception will follow with food and drinks. Survivors are encouraged to come sign up and participate in the first lap of relay. Festivities will include music and children’s activities to be held from 1-4 p.m. Food will be available throughout the weekend, and individual relay teams will host their own raffles and have goods to sell to raise money toward a cure.

At 4 p.m. there will be the Fight Back Ceremony. Each team is asked to donate a Best Buy or Amazon gift card in support of the Hope Lodge in Rochester, which is in need of a new heavy-duty vacuum cleaner and stereo equipment. Ann Savastano from the Hope Lodge will be guest speaker. Hope Lodge offers a place to stay when patients are undergoing cancer treatments away from home. Hope Lodges in New York are free to patients and caregivers.

Highlighting the evening events will be the Luminary Ceremony at 9 p.m. Luminary candles will line the track and are left burning through the night as relay team members walk. There will be a candlelight lap with all teams and participants. Survivor Lori Losowski will speak.

Parking for the event will be behind the former RFA. Handicap parking is available on campus in the lot off Turin Street. Only vehicles with handicap symbols will be allowed to park there. No dogs or bicycles will be allowed on the track. For more information about Relay for Life, call 1-800-227-2345 or visit

Paint the Town
Purple Winners:

Spirit Awardsfor two schools:

• Rome Catholic School, and

• Oriskany Junior/Senior High


• Newcomer Award: The Gunther Group

• Most Purple People first place Large Business: BNY Mellon

• Most Purple People first place Small Business: Rome City Hall

• Most Theme Oriented first place: H&R Block

• Most Theme Oriented second place: Korp’s Corner

• Most Creative Use of Purple: Rome Art and Community Center

• Purplelize Your Merchandise: first place: Hummel’s

• Purplelize Your Merchandise: second place: Engelbert’s Jewelers

• Best in Show: Community Bank on Turin Road