The American Cancer Society will host Abilene’s 20th anniversary Relay for Life event Friday and Saturday, from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
The Relay will take place at Big Country Soccer Complex. Amy Carnes, Relay for Life Specialist for the American Cancer Society, helped organize this event.
“Cancer never sleeps and so that night, neither do we,” Carnes said.
Relay For Life is the largest fundraising event in the world. Starting at 6 p.m., members of teams that have chosen to raise money will begin taking laps for those who have passed away, battled or survived cancer. Team members switch off taking laps throughout this twelve-hour event.
“Sometimes we feel like cancer is too big and we can’t do anything about it,” Carnes said. “But this is one way you can. You can fight back.”
“Finish the Fight” is the superhero theme chosen for the Relay this year. The Luminaria Ceremony takes place after dark to remember those who have fought cancer. Their names will be lit up using candles. Games, activities and concessions will also be provided to reflect the theme and further donations toward the fight against cancer.
“Even buying a dollar brownie makes an impact,” Carnes said. “That one dollar can be used to fund research to find a cure for cancer.”
Last year, $130,000 was raised, which is the goal set for this year.
“It is more than just a job to me,” Carnes said. “I have a team myself. Every person on my side of the family has had cancer or some cancer scare. This is a chance for Abilene to make a difference and to help finish the fight.”
Members of Alpha Kai Omega have created teams and are excited to participate in the Relay. Ruby Poole, senior nursing major from Frisco, has participated in Relay For Life for three years. This year will be the second year she has served as AKO’s team captain.
“I started when my dad was diagnosed with cancer,” Poole said. “I Relay for him and for many other family members and friends.”
Alpha Kai Omega has been participating in Relay For Life for a few years and has helped students join the cause, said Lydia Miranda, junior education major from Clarksville, Tenn.
“I’ve never experienced a family member or friend go through the traumatic experience of cancer,” Miranda said. “I can’t even begin to imagine the pain people go through. I want to help find a cure more than anything.”
Meredith Thornton, senior psychology major from Cedar Hill, is also a member of the AKO team. However, unlike Miranda, cancer has been a part of her entire life.
“My grandfather was diagnosed and passed away with lung cancer when I was eight. My grandmother has also had cancer multiple times, but thankfully she is still with us,” Thornton said.
Thornton’s best friend when she was 8 was also diagnosed with cancer. She survived for five years until she passed away at age 14. It is these experiences that motivate her to donate and walk.
“I Relay for those I have lost and for those I still have,” Thornton said. “I Relay so that no one else will lose their daughter, best friend, grandparent, confidant or hero. I Relay so that someday cancer will be a horror story from the past.”
To sign up, make a donation or for more information, visit relayforlife.org/abilenetx.