The Clark County Relay for Life celebrated its 16th year with 30 teams and an all-night party at George Rogers Clark High School.
The 2012 theme was “Happy Birthday, Sweet 16,” an extension of the American Cancer Society’s “More Birthdays for More People” slogan.
Relay committee co-chair Jane Hines said she expected Relay to meet its $64,000 goal, with $48,000 raised as of press time.
“It looks pretty good right now,” Hines said during the Relay event.
Teams continue fundraisers throughout the evening at Relay, selling food and other items to earn money for the American Cancer Society.
Hines attributed this year’s high participation to an increased number of lives affected by cancer.
“There’s more awareness out there of cancer, and the people it touches,” Hines said. “I think people want to do something regardless of the state of the economy.”
About 75 survivors participated in the survivors lap, a walk around the track to celebrate their lives.
“That’s just the tip of the iceberg in Clark County,” Hines said.
Her own involvement with Relay began in 2005, when she was a member of the Clark County Circuit Clerk’s team. David Hunt, Circuit Clerk at the time, was a cancer survivor. Hines received her own breast cancer diagnosis the day before Relay that year.
Hunt died of cancer in 2009, but Hines has continued participating in Relay for the past seven years. She also is involved in the Pink Ribbon Partners, a support group for cancer survivors and patients.
Hines said she expected more than 50 people to stay at the event all night, about 20 more than usual.
The event is held overnight, Hines said, to symbolize the dark times cancer patients go through.
“We enter into the darkness of night because of the cancer diagnosis, the chemo, the radiation,” Hines said.
The morning, she said, symbolizes “waking up to hope.”
“You never know when you’re going to be in the doctor’s office and hear those words, ‘I have cancer,’” Hines said.
Contact Rachel Parsons Gilliam at email@example.com, or follow her on Twitter, @ParsonsRachel.