Cancer survivors, caregivers and activists plan to gather at for tonight's , an all-night celebration and fundraiser.
The opening ceremony, which starts at 6:30 p.m., is expected to include a raffle for a 2013 Mazda CX5 crossover. Teams will set up decorated tents and do a series of walks around a grass track. Activities for kids, an auction and contests are also planned. The Luminaria Ceremony, with lit candles in honor of cancer victims, is set for 9 p.m. Zumba will be held at 1 a.m. Saturday, with the closing ceremony planned for 6:30 a.m.
For co-chair Melinda Lipscomb, the event is personal. She wrote the following in an email to Patch:
I relay because I want to see an end to cancer during my lifetime. Cancer has touched my family in many ways and is a 'norm' that I grew up with. Last year, at 33, my sister was diagnosed with throat cancer. Two years ago I lost two people I care about to colon cancer in the same week. I am especially doing this for Eric who lost his battle at 34 and for my sister who at 34 is in the midst of battle and is valiant in her fight.
Relay gives me the unique opportunity to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and support the American Cancer Society's lifesaving mission by fighting back against a disease that has already taken too much. ACS has been there supporting us and has been phenomenal to me personally as a caregiver.
Community members are welcome to attend. See the Patch event listing for more details.
Has cancer touched your life, or the lives of your loved ones? Tell us about them in the comments.