Photo Focus: Hope in Action: Community Comes Together for 23rd Annual Relay for Life

“The Survivors” take their lap at the 23rd annual Relay for Life. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

The 23rd annual Relay for Life of St. Croix took place on Saturday into Sunday at the St. Croix Educational Complex field. More than 300 attendees and a total of 36 teams with at least 15 to 22 members walked the field in support of the fight against cancer.

A 15-member team has a commitment fee of $1,500 plus the T-shirt cost.

The event itself raises awareness and provides support to those affected by the vicious disease of cancer. The Fabulous Five, an organization of volunteers, organized the event and worked hard to ensure its success.

“We are honoring people who have survived cancer, and we look forward to doing it every year,” said Yvonne Webster Pryce, Relay for Life St. Croix chairperson.

All the money raised for the Relay for Life stays in the community to aid patients.

Each year, booths are decorated to build morale, allow teammates to have a station, and are judged for the best decorated, which is announced during the ceremony. Wearing yellow T-shirts, teams walked from 4 p.m. Saturday until Sunday at noon. “As a team, at least someone is on the track walking” during the entirety of the event, said Pryce.

Participants decorated their booths to win the top decorated booth prize.(Source photo by Diana Dias)

During the lighting of the luminaries, which is the highlight of the event, cancer survivors take their walk while no one is on the track. Afterward, they made a circle and held a very special and touching ceremony. The word “HOPE” was spelled out across the bleachers as the lights were turned off and all attendees reflected on those who had been lost to the disease. After the ceremony, Pryce said that the survivors would be treated to a dinner made especially for them.

During the luminary ceremony, cancer survivors make a circle. During this segment of the event, it becomes very emotional for participants and supporters. (Source photo by Diana Dias)
The circle of survivors. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

So far, according to their website, the event has raised more than $143,000, and the goal is $350,000. This is not a final number as the committee is still collecting from those people who have promised donations. They have until the end of December to pay in for this year, 2024, Pryce said.

Team Sunshine and the Friedensthal Moravian Church team pose at the Relay for Life. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Some of the top contributing teams included Fund the Cure, Team Sunshine, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Hope Brigade STX 2, Team Marsha, Hope Brigade STX 1, Friedensthal Moravian Church, V.I. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, Team LEGIT, and Delta Stronger Together, just to name a few. Other acknowledgements went to top participants Yvonne Pryce, Debra Webster, Bruce Phaire, Debbie Barriero, and other participants. Top companies were Ocean Point Terminals, Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., among others.

One of the top contributing companies at the Relay for Life was Port Hamilton Refining and Transportation. (Source photo by Diana Dias)

Pryce wants to encourage more people to take part. “Cancer is growing throughout the world. Especially if you have been affected by it, this event is special for them,” she said.