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May 15, 2014

Light up the night: Relay for Life in Charlestown to fight cancer

Friday event will be held at Charlestown High School

CHARLESTOWN — Hundreds of people will light up the night Friday in Charlestown in an effort to raise awareness and defeat cancer as part of Clark County’s 20th annual Relay for Life.

“Relay for Life is really more than a 12-hour event. It’s a wonderful opportunity to fight back against this disease that has taken so many of us,” said Sarah Bynum, senior consultant with the American Cancer Society. “Hopefully, we’ll have a day when we have no cancer. That’s what we’re hoping to achieve.”

According to the American Cancer Society, about half of all men and one-third of all women in the United States will develop cancer during their lifetimes. The relay is a major fundraiser for the group that works to educate people about healthy lifestyles, early diagnosis and treatments. The group also funds research for cures.

Tressa Neal, relay specialist who is organizing the Clark County event, said the event will feature a bounce house, DJ, themed laps, three-legged race, cake walk and more. The first hour will be filled with survivor events, Neal said. There will also be a special, surprise award for one Clark County survivor.

“People should participate and come out and see the relay, because it really shows that there are people that are taking a stand,” Neal said. “There are so many people in Clark County that are refusing to let cancer destroy their lives. People are not taking this sitting down. I think that more than everything, more than the activities and games, the relay is a chance for you to stand as a community and show that support.”

The event will also feature the traditional Luminaria Ceremony, where candles will be placed in bags as a way to reflect on those who are battling cancer and those who have lost their battle, Bynum said. The 12-hour event will end Saturday morning with a victory lap. Bynum said the event is overnight to “symbolize that cancer never sleeps.”

“Relay for Life is definitely an opportunity to be a part of something bigger than yourself,” she said. “We have over 6,000 relay events this year in over 20 countries. So, no matter the size of the relay, rather it’s a small town or a big city, everyone can play a part in defeating cancer.”

The event will take place at Charlestown High School, 1 Pirate Place. Bynum said it’s never too late to form a team. However, teams aren’t required to participate in the night’s events. People can just come by for free.

As of Wednesday, 32 teams and 220 participants have raised more than $15,000 for the cause. Neal said there will be opportunities at the event to donate directly to relay or to help a team with their fundraisers, by purchasing concessions or other items for sale at the various team booths. There will also be an auction, with all funds going to the American Cancer Society.

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