Relay for Life way to aid cancer research

Cancer affects numerous families across Bartholomew and Jennings counties. Starting this weekend and continuing into next month, teams of volunteers will try to do something about it. They will spend 24 hours walking laps at designated sites to raise money for cancer research, support and outreach.

Relay for Life teams will walk a course at Jennings County High School on Saturday, at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds on May 30 and at the Hope Town Square on June 6.

Each event is intended to raise money for the American Cancer Society, but participants also want to raise awareness about cancer and the research that goes into fighting it, to celebrate cancer survivors and to remember its victims.

Teams spend months seeking pledges, which goes to research and helps pay for programs such as giving patients rides to their cancer treatment or workshops to help cancer patients deal with hair loss.

The effort culminates in a 24-hour walkathon, where team members take turns walking laps while bands perform, movies play and games are played. One team member is on the walking course at all times.

One of the most moving activities is the traditional survivors lap, when former patients who have beaten cancer walk the circuit for their respective teams.

But the most poignant is a luminaria salute to cancer victims who lost their personal battles. After sundown, the memorial flames are lit and line the track.

In the past, event organizers have tied purple ribbons to trees and utility poles. Business owners allowed their storefronts to be decorated in shades of lavender, lilac and fuchsia to show support.

The events and related activities are designed to get people involved in a cause, and they are rewarded with several hours of fun spent with like-minded neighbors.

We salute all of the Relay for Life teams that have dedicated their time to fundraising and will spend a day and night walking, walking, walking and walking some more.

We urge the public to support the teams in their fundraising efforts and, if possible, attend one of the events to show support for those involved. The atmosphere is infectious, and you might just catch the “bug” and join or even start a team for next year’s campaign.

If you go

Upcoming Relay for Life events:

9 a.m. Saturday at Jennings County High School, 800 W. Walnut St., North Vernon.

8 a.m. May 30 at the Bartholomew County 4-H Fairgrounds, 750 W. County Road 200S, Columbus.

8 a.m. June 6 at Hope Town Square, 310 Jackson St., Hope.

For more information: relayforlife.org