Our ‘Empty Table’ for the Candle of Hope Ceremony

Updated: Jul 17, 2019

At Relay for Life Wexford 2019 we teamed up with local artist Helen McClean to create the "Empty Table”.

“The empty table“ represents the person absent from the table ... It is set for one, symbolising the fact that some of our loved ones are missing from this gathering. They have been diagnosed with cancer, and they are some of the names and faces behind the candles.


The chair is empty. Many of those who fought the battle with cancer are no longer with us, but rather than mourning their loss, we choose to celebrate their life


The table is small, symbolising the frailty of a single patient, sometimes alone in the fight against his or her disease.


The tablecloth is white, symbolic of the medical profession: doctors, nurses and researchers who help fight the battle for life.


The single rose in a vase a signifies the enduring love of families and friends who support our cancer patients and in turn their strength fighting a disease that has claimed many lives.


The pink ribbon on the vase represents the ribbons worn on the lapels of millions who support a continued search for a cure, not only for breast cancer, but for other cancers as well.


The lemon reminds us of the bitter battle against a deadly disease. A battle fought by more than 1.3 million new patients each year.


The salt reminds us of the countless tears shed by cancer patients and those shed by family members and friends who have lost a loved one.


The glass is inverted, in memory of those who are not able to join us in our celebration.


But, the candle represents the light of hope, a hope that lives in each and everyone of us. A hope for an ultimate cure


The light from this single flame is symbolic of our frailty. It is delicate and can be put out with one breath. The flame is warm, it is calming and it is also strong. It burns with a beauty and a brilliance that captivates all who look upon it. We all have a flame that burns inside us, it is our strength, our determination, our optimism and our Hope.


Amazingly, the candle of hope that we lit for our Candle of Hope Ceremony this year continued to burn not only through the night but all through the final day and actually had to be blown out at 15:30 as we left Páirc Charman!


What an end to an absolutely amazing weekend at Relay For Life Wexford. We feel this is surely a significant sign from somewhere that our efforts to "fight back" are much appreciated.


You can find more amazing work on Helen's website Helen McClean Art


We’d also like to thank Ken Wallace who handmade the actual table, Anne Crosbie local artist who created the wonderful pieces on the table and finally Helen's group of 'Happy Snippers' who helped to cut and stick the massive amount of tiny mirror pieces in place.

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