The local American Cancer Society Relay for Life is at Woodstock High School this year and offers community members the chance to come together to battle cancer and remember those who have fought against it.
Robert Sprague, a three-year cancer survivor and an organizer for this year’s event said Relay for Life is one of the premiere national charity organizations, and Cherokee County’s event always makes a large contribution to the cause.
“It’s an overnight event where we raise money for cancer research, for support for caregivers, for special needs, for people who are in active treatment,” Sprague explained. “About 75 cents of every dollar we raise goes directly for those functions, which is an exceptionally good ratio.”
As of Tuesday, Cherokee Relay for Life raised more than $138,000 of the $280,000 goal for this year’s event, and Sprague said he’s confident the goal can be reached.
Sprague said he anticipated at least 1,400 relay participants during the event, matching last year’s turnout.
“The disease can be beat,” Sprague said. “We have some 30-, 40-year survivors. There was a 6-year-old girl last year who’d been a survivor for three years. There are all sorts of extremes.”
Relay for Life began in 1985, when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran around a track for 24 hours, to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, the event has continued to grow, Sprague said.
“The idea of Relay, is that there’s always somebody on the track, through the night, for 24 hours,” Sprague said.
Cancer doesn’t sleep, so neither should those fighting the disease, organizers said.
This year’s Relay for Life theme is “Cancer is Not a Game,” and the event features various activities beginning at 6 p.m. at Woodstock High School, at 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive.
From dancing and live music, to scavenger hunts and tug-of-war, the event promises activities for everyone.
“You don’t have to be signed up to be a relay member, you don’t have to be an American Cancer Society member, you can just go to Woodstock High School at 6 p.m. Friday night, and walk around and enjoy it,” Sprague said. “It’s like a big fair … it’s just a lot of fun.”
Sprague said many of the relay participants set up activities or booths at the event to raise money, and the entire community is invited to event.
“A lot of the teams have patio tents up, with money-making ventures at the Relay,” Sprague said. “All the money is collected during the course of the relay.”
Sprague said even those who can’t attend can still contribute to the cause. Donations can be made online at cherokeerelay.org.
Luminaries can also be purchased online in remembrance of those who died from the disease, and a ceremony will take place Friday at 10 p.m.
IF YOU GO ...
WHAT: Relay for Life
WHERE: Woodstock High School
WHEN: Friday 6 p.m. to Saturday 6 a.m.
WHY: Benefits fight against cancer.