Organizers will discontinue Rally for a Cure in Massena

Cancer survivors circle a lap at the start of the Massena/Louisville Rally For A Cure in June in Louisville. Tom Graser/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — After seeing a decline in fundraising and participants, organizers have announced that there will be no Massena/Louisville Rally for a Cure, formerly Relay for Life, in 2020.

“Unfortunately, as we all know, over the last several years attendance/fundraising for this event has continued to decline, and the committee has decided not to host an event this year,” they said in a social media posting.

The local event had originally started at the Massena Central High School athletic fields and ran from 6 p.m. Fridays to 6 a.m. Saturdays one weekend in June. In those days, the fields were filled with tents and participants, and entertainment was provided throughout the night.

The event was later moved to the Ray Hurlbut Louisville Community Center, where it has been held since, and the hours were reduced from 6 p.m. to midnight. But attendance has declined over the years.

They attempted a different approach in 2019, changing the name to “Massena/Louisville Rally for a Cure,” hosting a 5k color walk/run and cutting the hours of the event to 6 to 10 p.m.

The June 7 activities included the Survivor Ceremony, in which survivors were called one-by-one to take a celebratory walk around the track. There was also a dunk tank, photo opportunities with superheroes, a craft/vendor show, a DJ and food. Also on the agenda was the luminaria ceremony, when survivors and those who had lost their battles with cancer were recognized or remembered.

All money raised benefited the American Cancer Society.

Organizers said, although there won’t be an event, they are still supporting the cause through individual fundraising and/or by joining other local relay events. Those include events at SUNY Potsdam on March 27, Clarkson University on a date to be determined, Malone on June 13, and the St. Lawrence County Colors of Cancer Walk, formerly the Ogdensburg Relay for Life, on June 20.

Ogdensburg had recently replaced its Relay for Life with the St. Lawrence County Colors of Cancer Walk, a two-mile walk on the Maple City Trail and on city streets to raise cancer awareness while also raising money for the American Cancer Society. Despite the change, the survivor’s lap and luminaria ceremony are still part of that event.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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