Volunteers gathered at earlier this week to kick off the 2011 .
During the event, teams of up to 15 people camp out at a local fairground, high school or park and take turns walking or running around a track or path for 24 hours, with a representative from each team on the track at all times.
Organizers at Monday night's kick-off focused on signing up volunteers and sponsors, as well as informing the public about the event.
“The only way our organization survives is because of the dedication of our volunteers,” said Scott Townley, the ACS’s liaison to the Union City teams.
Many, such as the Claros family of Union City, dedicate time to the annual relay because cancer is a personal issue for them.
The matriarch of the Claros family, Indiana Claros, has been a cancer survivor for five years.
“It’s an important event, it’s fun, and we’re able to make a big difference in just 24 hours,” said Indiana's daughter, Michelle Claros. Michelle has participated in the relay along with her mother, father, brother and husband.
Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours long “because cancer never sleeps and neither will we,” said Hazel Knowles, a Relay committee member and, as of Jan. 31, a nine-year cancer survivor.
Knowles’ mother lost her battle with breast cancer at age 53. Knowles said she “relays for hope” so that “no one will have have to hear the words ‘You have cancer,’ ever again.”
So far, Union City has 10 teams, but organizers hope to surpass last year’s total of 16 teams.
There is still plenty of time to gather a team and take steps toward fighting cancer in the Union City Relay for Life, they say.
“From the cashier at the grocery store to your mailman, everybody is a potential team member,” said Jennifer Dudley, the event chairperson.
The 2011 Union City Relay For Life will hold additional informational meetings in the coming months, along with several fundraisers, including .
For additional information about Union City's Relay For Life, visit the 2011 Union City Relay For Life website.