In 2009, Rebecca Luthman had numerous luminaria and 14 torches taken out in her name by members of the public and the team formed to support her.
For Melissa Deal, the torches were the most she had ever seen for one person. Deal, who has been involved with the luminaria and the torches for approximately five years, returned this year to organizing the luminaria for the 15th annual Relay for Life.
While the torches have been discontinued, Deal and the rest of the Relay for Life Committee have given a couple twists to the luminaria.
“This year we are going to the paper sacks that people can personalize themselves instead of the 2-liter clear plastic bottles,” Deal said. “We think it will be more personalized and we found a lot of other relays use these and we decided we would try it this year.”
At the other Relay for Life events, they have put pictures of the person they are honoring or phrases such as “I miss you,” on them, Deal said. Some groups design them to look like they are scrapbooking.
Each luminaria costs $10, with the money going to the Auglaize County Relay for Life. Deal explained members of a Relay for Life team or the public can purchase a luminaria in honor of a survivor of cancer or a person who has died from cancer.
She also noted the public can purchase a luminaria and designate a Relay for Life team as the beneficiary and they will receive credit toward their total. Teams are encouraged to reach their own pre-set goal.
“We also are hoping to have a picture show during the luminaria event showing a person they have purchased the luminaria for,” Deal said. “We encourage people to send or e-mail a photo we can use. This will occur weather permitting.”
Deal said anybody interested in a luminaria can contact a member of the board about an order form.
Deal and Relay for Life organizer Laura Kelley will distribute the luminaria bags to the teams prior to the Relay for Life event, slated for June 22 and June 23, at the Auglaize County Fairgrounds. They also plan to make them available to the public prior to the event so they can be decorated.
One change from the past is the elimination of the torches, which occurred once the threshold of $50 worth of luminaria was met for a person being honored. With fewer board members, they had trouble finding someone to head the committee and they would be willing for someone to join to handle the event.