Nevada County Relay for Life at fairgrounds Saturday |

Nevada County Relay for Life at fairgrounds Saturday

Photo for The Union by John Hart
John Hart | The Union

What: Nevada County Relay for Life

When: 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday

Where: 11228 McCourtney Road, Grass Valley

Information: Visit

After the loss of both her parents and the survival of both her sisters from cancer, Rona Martin has made a point to attend Relay for Life for the past seven years.

“That’s what has motivated me,” Martin said.

This year’s Nevada County Relay for Life event will take place from 9 a.m. Saturday to 9 a.m. Sunday at the Nevada County Fairgrounds at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley.

Martin’s team, named Shelling Out for Cancer, consists of friends and family members who pitch a tent — though the tent is used for changing clothes and not sleeping — and circle the track at different times through the 24-hour event.

“We stay up all night and walk mid-morning to the middle of the night,” Martin said.

According to the Relay for Life website, the Nevada County event involves 21 teams and 213 participants who have raised a total of $25,651 as of Friday afternoon.

For information or to donate, visit

“It brings you closer together,” Martin said. “It’s a wonderful cause. If it wasn’t for the research by the American Cancer Society, there would be a lot of people who wouldn’t have medicine and different things to help.”

Relay for Life involves specific events, including the opening ceremony with stories of struggle and encouragement.

“You get survivors up there saying how many years and how long they’ve been clean, and it’s very uplifting for new and older cancer survivors,” Martin said. “It means a lot to the new cancer survivors to hear that.”

After the beginning ceremony, cancer survivors christen the ceremony in the Survivor’s Lap with a unified walk around the track.

Later in the evening, the Luminaria Ceremony honors and memorializes those who have died, have survived or are still fighting the disease. Participants light candles that are placed in personalized lanterns with names, photos and messages that line the track and glow throughout the night.

“It is very intimate and emotional,” Martin said. “It’s an emotional weekend with lots of tears — some of joy, some of sadness — as we remember our loved ones and the ones who are still fighting the battle.”

The next part of the event is the Fight Back ceremony, which is meant to empower and impassion people, where participants are given flags to represent those who currently or will one day have cancer.

Participants are encouraged to sign up with a pledge to save a life and refuse to let cancer win, followed by the closing ceremony.

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call 530-477-4230.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User