Relay for Life moving to Cassidy Park

Published 12:12 am Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The early years of the Relay for Life of Washington Parish played out amidst storms and high winds at the Bogalusa High School football field and track, where, unwilling to be thwarted in their intentions, local folks walked laps, played games and collected money to help fund American Cancer Society research and programs.

Now more than a decade later, after moving across the street to Goodyear Park and then alternating with sites in Franklinton, the Relay is heading to Cassidy Park in Bogalusa.

The 14th annual Relay for Life will kick off there with a survivor’s victory lap at approximately noon on April 19.

Chairwoman Michelle Goode said she looks forward to trying out the new larger venue, which is in the midst of a major transformation.

“I’m excited because of all the changes the city is making at the park,” she said. “And the stage lends itself perfectly as a place for us to set up.”

The Relay will not require participants to walk the entire circuit through the park, she added. It will cover just the loop that extends eastward from the performance pavilion.

But Relay Day is about more than doing laps for a worthy cause. It’s about family fun with a purpose, and the 22 local Relay teams will fill the grounds with lots of easy and enjoyable opportunities for people to make donations to the ACS.

“We will have a dunking booth, a game trailer (with video games), a Bump and Jump, food, sweets and lots of really good raffles,” Goode said.

The local Relay traditionally ends up resembling a giant family reunion, with children running and playing while adults visit and make the rounds.

But the purpose for the gathering is serious, and the annual lighting of the luminaries in honor of those who are now battling cancer or those who have lost their fight brings an intense silent stillness to the space.

According to the ACS, more than one million people in the United States are diagnosed with cancer every year.

Sixty years ago, only one third of those who contracted the disease survived for another five years or more. Today, thanks in part to the work of the American Cancer Society, which Relays help fund, that number has risen to two-thirds.

The goal is to increase that survival rate by another third. To be a partner in the real fight against cancer, participate in the Relay for Life, Goode said.

For additional information, call American Cancer Society representative Melanie Byrd at 768-2666 or contact her via email at