Susan Babik

American Cancer Society Senior Development Manager Susan Babik sits at her “Spirit of Hope” team table at the 2019 event.

ST. MARYS — An upcoming “Light the Night” event in St. Marys will allow the community to honor lives lost to cancer through luminaria bags, keeping their memory bright throughout the night.

Susan Babik, the community development manager for the Northeast region of the American Cancer Society, said Relay for Life of Elk County was unable to take place as usual June 5, 2020. All ACS fundraising events were canceled, postponed or replaced by virtual events, causing the organization to face a $200 million shortfall.

Although walkers had no luck this year, Relay for Life of Elk County will host a “Light the Night” event from 3-9 p.m. Sept. 19 behind the St. Marys City parking garage on Depot Street.

Babik said the leadership team is planning this day so that people can still donate a luminaria bag or show support for relay teams. Relay for Life teams need the support now more than ever.

“Luminaria are bags with names written on them of those who have fought or are currently fighting the battle against cancer,” the news release says. “Whether they have won their battle, are currently fighting or have lost their life because of cancer, luminaria are symbols of hope found at every Relay For Life event. The light inside each luminaria represents a life, which shines with the hope for a cancer-free world.”

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Last year’s RFL event in June featured 12 teams that raised $75,000 by the end of the day. The opening ceremony is typically followed by the survivor/caregiver walk, and later, a survivor luncheon.

The ceremony is also meant to be a time of reflection, Babik noted.

“This is the time where loved ones can remember those who have lost their battles with cancer, support those who have been newly diagnosed, and rejoice with those who have conquered the disease.”

Those who would like to purchase a luminaria bag can call 814-594-0891.

For more information, visit RFL of Elk County on Facebook. To find out how to help, visit

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