Ellen Scharaga, operational consultant for Alegria Specialty Pharmacy, is a health-industry. Outside of work, Ellen Scharaga volunteers with nonprofits that focus on medical research, such as the American Cancer Society. Each year, the American Cancer Society sponsors Relay for Life, a nationwide fundraising event. The overnight track walk that brings together cancer survivors and their supporters to raise money toward finding a cure.
Though all local Relay for Life walks have elements that make them unique, three events take place at every walk held throughout the country. The Survivor’s Lap, in which those who have battled cancer take the first turn around the track, always begins the walk. The supporters on the sidelines line up along the track to cheer on the survivors as they walk.
When night falls on the event, a luminaria ceremony is held to honor friends and loved ones who have succumbed to cancer. Participants light candles and place them inside bags around the track with personalized inscriptions written on them to memorialize those who have passed. Additionally, a Fight Back Ceremony, in which all participants are encouraged and inspired to fight back against cancer year-round and commit to helping the American Cancer Society save lives, is held at every event.