Eighty registered teams for Relay for Life in Cherokee County have raised a combined $200,000, said Leslie Skopic, event chair for the county's Relay For Life.
The opening ceremony of the annual overnight fundraising event will be held tonight at 6:30 p.m. at Woodstock High School. The school is located at 2010 Towne Lake Hills South Drive in Towne Lake.
A survivor reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., the survivor/caregiver victory lap will be held at 6:50 p.m. and a kids' walk will begin at 7:05 p.m. Live entertainment and games will take place throughout the night.
The Luminary Ceremony of Hope will be held at 9:30 p.m. and the closing ceremony will be held at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.
This year at the festivities, Cherokee County residents will have an opportunity to participate in a Cancer Prevention Study.
Participants who wish to take part in the study must be willing to make a long-term commitment, be between the ages of 30 and 65 and have never been diagnosed with cancer, said Eli Fernandez, community manager with the American Cancer Society's Cobb County office.
Ms. Skopic, whose sister is a cancer survivor, said many of the participants are excited about meeting their goals and participating in this year's festivities.
Cathy McFarland, a member of the Wadeken Industries/Woodstock Smiles team, said she and her team members have met their goal to raise $8,000.
"We knew we would do it," she said.
Ms. McFarland, who said the team has participated in Relay for Life for the past several years, said the fundraiser continues to be successful because of cancer's prevalence.
"Everyone's lives have been touched by cancer," she said, adding she lost her uncle in February to lung cancer and her ant is a 15-year breast cancer survivor.
The students at CrossRoads Middle School/High School are also taking on cancer.
The school's Relay for Life team has been raising funds in honor of Terina Hepler Esposito, a CrossRoads science teacher, who lost her three-year battle with breast cancer in June.
The team has raised $9,000 of its $10,000 goal. If the team meets its goal, principal Richard Landolt will shave his head and donate his hair to Locks of Love.
Math teacher Candace Aman said the school will raffle off tickets at the festivities Friday to raise the remainder of the funds.
Ms. Aman said she believed the students at CrossRoads understand the reach cancer can have on families.
"I just wanted to raise an awareness about cancer," Ms. Aman said of why she wanted to get students involved in fundraising.
Teasley Middle School's team has raised $9,200 of its targeted $10,000.
Diana Haslick, a special needs teacher at the school, said the team has raised $1,500 from a coin drive held in January.
During the school's field days, the team sold frozen popsicles and raised about $600. It also sold Krispy Kreme doughnuts in Ball Ground and Tate and made roughly $1,000.
Ms. Haslick said the campaign has allowed students to realize how important their fundraising efforts are.
"There ways you can help and make a difference," she said.