SALISBURY, Md. - In the middle of the carnival-like atmosphere at the Relay for Life at Salisbury University a ceremony to remember the victims of cancer was held called the 'Light Luminaria.'
Siena Manoogian, co-executive director of the event, has participated in the ceremony in the past, and was moved to tears.
"I cried. I cried so so hard because it's such an emotional time to see the reasons why other people relay."
The luminaria is called a 'fight back' ceremony for participants to remember and honor those near to them who have lost their battle with cancer.
Becky Rout, who has attended Relay for years, says she used to attend with her mom. Last year was the first time she experienced the luminaria without her mother, who died early last year with ovarian cancer. Rout says she can feel her mom's presence during the ceremony.
"I love it because my mom passed last year, last March from ovarian cancer. So my dad and sister walked the track holding hands and lighting my moms bag to remember her. I love it."
Around dusk the bags are laid out along the grass in front of Maggs Gym. As darkness sets in, the candles in the bags are lit as bagpipes play in the background, an emotional moment for those touched by cancer.
We're going to walk the track and see why everyone relays. You see 'in honor of my aunt, my uncle, my mom, my dad,' it's just so powerful to see all the reasons why we come together," said Manoogian. "And the lights in it represent the hope we have to find a cure. And it's really remembering those who have won and lost, mostly to see why we do what we do, why we stay up all night and to see that sun rise at 6 a.m. makes it all worth it."
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