Event organizers are expecting between 5,000 and 7,000 people to attend Friday night’s Relay for Life in Nash County.
American Cancer Society Community Manager Patricia Earnhardt Tyndall said the 60-degree temperatures should make for beautiful weather throughout the overnight event.
“We relay all night long because cancer does not sleep,” Tyndall said. “So for this one night, we don’t sleep either in this community.”
Tyndall said 953 people on 79 teams have signed up for the event and registration still is open.
“Our teams really are a picture of the community,” Tyndall said. “We have school teams, faith-based teams, business teams and teams of family and friends. We have teams from all over Nash County from Bailey to Nashville to Battleboro and Rocky Mount to the edge of Edgecombe County.”
In 2011, the event raised $293,687 with the average team raising $2,500. The goal for this year’s event is set at $325,000.
“We certainly have teams that raise $30,000 and teams that raise $200,” she said. “We appreciate every dollar because each one gets us closer to the research that will find the cure for cancer.”
Tyndall said the prevalence of cancer makes Relay for Life events popular nationwide.
“Nearly everyone has had their life touched by cancer – whether it was themselves or someone they care about – and this is their way to fight back,” she said. “Everyone has a passion for finding the cure.”
The event is open to the public with most teams selling food and other items to bring in money in addition to the funds raised by walking the track at Rocky Mount Athletic Stadium. White luminaria bags are decorated and encircle the track in memory of cancer patients. The opening ceremony will start at 6 p.m. and the survivor lap will kick off the night at 6:30 p.m.
“This is a family-friendly party with a purpose. Games and entertainment will happen throughout the event, so people can take part even if they are not on a team,” Tyndall said. “We welcome anyone who wants to take the time to come out to honor the survivors and remember those who have lost their lives and just help be a part of the community that is fighting back.”