The Exchange Club Fairgrounds in Brunswick will transform Friday evening from an empty field into a massive celebration, honoring all who have been affected by cancer.
The annual Relay For Life will take place Friday at the Exchange Club from 6 p.m. to midnight. Registration is still open, said Ebonie Cohens, the local organizer.
“The event is to help us celebrate the people that have battled cancer in our community, as well as nationwide,” said Cohens, Relay For Life community manager. “It’s to come and celebrate with them and to honor those who have lost their battle to cancer.”
Every year, more than 4 million people globally raise funds and awareness for the fight against cancer through Relay For Life, a grassroots and community-based movement. The annual Relay For Life event is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society
The event allows communities to come together and honor cancer survivors, to remember those who lost their battle to cancer and to raise money to fight the disease worldwide.
Teams take turns walking around the makeshift track on the grounds, and each team is asked to have at least one member walking the track at all times during the six-hour event.
The money raised by Relay For Life goes toward funding cancer research and providing free information and services to cancer patients and their caregivers.
Cohens said each team will set up tent sites, and she encouraged team members to bring chairs, entertainment and extra water.
Cohens also urged all participants to bring sunscreen, bug spray and, most importantly, comfortable walking shoes.
Nearly 60 teams are registered this year, Cohens said, and she expects more than 1,000 people to take part in Friday’s event.
The survivors and caregivers lap will start at 6:30 p.m., and the luminaria ceremony, when each candlelit bag will represent a loved one lost to cancer, will begin at 8:30 p.m.
The family-friendly event will include several entertainers, such as recent “The Voice” contestant Justen Harden, the Rainbow Cloggers and Brunswick High student Chris Hulvey.
The theme this year is “We Can Be Heroes.” A Superhero Stroll will take place at 7:30 p.m. for children 12 and under who have raised at least $25.
“They’ll be surrounded by superheroes, and they’ll get to wear capes,” Cohens said.
Teams raise money for the American Cancer Society year-round, she said, but the annual Relay For Life event offers a fun opportunity to share that work with the community and to recognize those who have been affected by cancer locally.
The fundraising goal this year is $260,000.
“It’s just that midpoint celebration where we’re honoring our survivors, and we’re coming together and having fun,” Cohens said.