Starke County Relay for Life starts this evening at 5 p.m. at the Hamlet Fairgrounds and continues through Saturday. Missions chair Ericka Taylor-Joseph says fundraisers to benefit the American Cancer Society take place throughout the year leading up to the actual 18-hour event.
“You celebrate, remember and fight back. Those are things that we want to touch upon during that event so that it raises awareness of what cancer is. It shows people who are fighting so you can support them as well, and then gives you an opportunity to remember those lost.”
So far 21 teams are signed up, but more may be added closer to the start of the festivities. Taylor-Joseph encourages anyone who wants to take part to come out.
“Starke County is one of the most giving and caring communities I have ever seen in my entire life. We raise more funds than people who are two, three times the size of us. It’s something I believe everyone should take a look at if they have the opportunity.”
Relay participants will be walking laps around the track throughout the event. Food and other fundraising opportunities will be offered. Taylor-Joseph says it provides a great opportunity for community members to demonstrate solidarity.
“We can come out to this event and show our support to those survivors that we’re not going to let you fight alone. We’re going to walk along side you, and we’re going to raise funds so that one day maybe we can find a cure so you won’t have to go through this anymore.”
The track will also be lined with luminaria bags in honor or memory of those who struggle with cancer. This year’s guest speaker is Ancilla College Wrestling Coach Steve VanDerAa, who is a cancer survivor.