According to Laura Beaber, community manager with the American Cancer Society for Butts, Lamar and Spalding counties, the first lap of the Relay is dedicated to cancer survivors and intended to be their victory lap, as everyone in attendance is encouraged to line the track and cheer for them.
“The second lap is also a very special lap, where the caregivers join the survivors and walk the lap together,” said Beaber. “It is always an overwhelming response from our survivors that they would not be survivors today if it had not been for their caregivers.”
At about 9:30 p.m. Friday, the local Relay for Life will feature a luminary ceremony — bags with candles or torches lit either in honor of someone who has battled cancer or in memory of someone who lost that battle.
“Every candle has a name and its own story,” said Beaber. “It’s a very moving site to see.”
Aside from numerous awards being given to the most spirited team, the best decorated camp site or the best team banner, among others, this year’s Relay for Life will name Miss Relay Pageant in a woman-less beauty pageant, and it will also name the 2012 Miss Relay winner at 10 p.m.
As of Tuesday afternoon, 56 teams — or about 600 participants — had registered for Friday’s event. The fund-raising goal this year is $158,000 — slightly more than the $153,000 generated last year. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society.
“It is hard to find someone nowadays (whose) life has not somehow been affected by cancer," said Beaber when asked why the community should support Relay for Life.
“By attending and supporting Relay for Life, you are doing your part to put an end to this terrible disease,” she said. “Relay for Life is more than an event, it’s an experience. I encourage everyone to come out on Friday night to experience the magic of Relay.”