The Attleboro Public Library and the 24th annual Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, a team fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, are again collaborating on a poetry-essay event to raise awareness about the disease. Slam Cancer 2022 will build on the success of last year’s inaugural event.
Once again, organizers are urging people to share submissions of up to 500 words on the topic of “Slam Cancer: How I’ve been touched by the disease” by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org from April 1-29. That period again will coincide with the observance of National Poetry Month.
The poem or essay could be a story of surviving cancer, caring for a loved one who is battling cancer, recalling someone you miss who succumbed to cancer—or anything else that describes how the disease has affected your life. Organizers also hope to involve Attleboro’s newly appointed poet laureate, Briana Serradas, in the event.
The library is enthusiastic about its continuing partnership with the relay for life volunteer committee, according to Library Director Amy Rhilinger.
“This year’s Slam Cancer event, held in collaboration with the Relay for Life, will be exciting as our audience for poetry events has grown since last spring,” she said. “We received an overwhelmingly positive response from the community after the initial poetry reading, and we’ve also heard stories from cancer survivors that they’d like to share in the future. The successful 2021 event was just the beginning of how our community can use their words to support one another in difficult times.”
The initiative is open to people of all ages, regardless of where they live. Additional details will be posted on these websites and social media accounts: Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro (www.relayforlife.org/greaterattleboroma); the Attleboro Public Library (attleborolibrary.org); SAILS, the regional network of libraries (sailsinc.org) and the Attleboro Arts Museum (attleboroartsmuseum.org).
Participants will again be given the option of reading their submissions at an outdoor gathering being planned for 6 p.m. Friday, May 20 in Balfour Riverwalk Park, where the 2021 event was celebrated in June.
The ongoing collaboration with the library is another example of outreach by the Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, which in 2020 worked with the Attleboro Arts Museum on two events: an art exhibit titled “Luminaria” and an outdoor event called “Luminaria on the Lawn.”
Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro organizing committee Chairwoman Barbara Benoit lauded the latest joint venture.
“I’m looking forward to collaborating with the Attleboro Public Library on our second Slam Cancer event,” said Benoit. “I was touched by the personal stories and poetry that people shared on how cancer has impacted them. This year’s event will be even better.”
Slam Cancer will be held a few weeks before the relay for life’s main event, an 18-hour fundraiser planned for June 17-18 at the Norton Middle School. That site is being used for this year’s event due to the construction of a new turf field at Norton High School.
Brittney Toth, the regional senior development manager of the American Cancer Society, stressed that two years after the pandemic curtailed the society’s fundraising efforts, the relay remains an important way to support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to provide information, support and guidance to patients and their families via its helpline, 1-800-227-2345, and at cancer.org.
The Greater Attleboro relay, the oldest such event in the Attleboro area, draws participants from most area communities, including Attleboro, North Attleboro, Mansfield, Norton, Plainville and Rehoboth.
The event, which began in 1999 at North Attleboro High School, was held there until moving to Norton High School in 2018.
To register for the event as a participant, team captain, volunteer, or to donate to the Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, go to www.relayforlife.org/greaterattleboroma.