WAKEFIELD – The highlight of Friday’s Wakefield Relay For Life opening ceremonies was the presentation of the American Cancer Society’s Sandra C. Labaree Volunteer Values Award to Wakefield’s Elaine Silva for her 25 years of dedicated service on the Wakefield Relay For Life leadership team. 

The award is the most prestigious accolade by the American Cancer Society’s New England Chapter, and it recognizes Silva’s accomplishments in support of the organization’s mission to celebrate lives, to save lives and to lead the fight for a world without cancer. 

In presenting the award, ACS of New England board member Joe Vittiglio of the ACS New England Chapter said that Silva was “the embodiment of the Relay For Life tagline: “Celebrate, remember, fight back.” 

Relay For Life 2024

AMERICAN CANCER SOCIETY representative Joe Vittiglio honored longtime Wakefield Relay volunteer Elaine Silva during the 2024 Relay For Life opening ceremony Friday night. (Mark Sardella Photo)

Although Friday evening’s opening ceremony may have gotten off to a soggy start, the rain did not dampen the enthusiasm of those attending the 2024 Wakefield Relay For Life. The 25th annual fundraiser for the American Cancer Society got underway under rainy skies at the track and field behind Northeast Metro Tech. 

On behalf of the Wakefield Relay For Life leadership team, Elaine Silva welcomed those in attendance and talked about the 25 years that the Wakefield Relay has been in existence, raising over $3 million for the American Cancer Society. 

Silva introduced Town Council chairman Mike McLane, who reflected on a loss that his own family recent experienced due to cancer. 

As the ceremonial Flame of hope was lit by Claire Brown and Justin Jones, cancer survivors gathered under the Arch of Hope to embark on the opening Survivor and Caregiver Lap. Following that, survivors and caregivers were invited to enjoy a catered dinner under the large tent, as the rain continued to fall. 

At 9 p.m., the Luminaria Ceremony honoring and remembering those affected by cancer was held as bagpiper Bob Sullivan provided musical accompaniment. 

Three live bands provided music for this year’s Relay event: JANGO, Frankie Hollywood and the Melted Chapsticks and The Offramps. 

Teams of walkers continued to lap the track throughout the night, in solidarity with cancer patients who are fighting through their darkest hours to the dawn of a new day. 

The closing ceremonies for the Wakefield Relay For Life were held at 6 a.m. Saturday morning. 

As of Sunday, the 2024 Wakefield Relay For Life had raised over $60,000 for the American Cancer Society. 

Each year, more than 5,000 Relay For Life events take place in over twenty countries to celebrate cancer survivors, remember those we’ve lost to cancer and fight back against the terrible disease. It is the largest annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society, an organization dedicated to ending cancer as we know it, for everyone. 


CANCER SURVIVORS and caregivers gather under the Arch of Hope for the opening lap of the 2024 Wakefield relay for Life Friday night at the Northeast Metro Tech task and field. (Mark Sardella Photo)