20 years and going strong: Relay for Life raises over $85K

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"We realized we needed something local for people to be able to participate in and this way they can participate", says Suttle, adding she used to go to the Yarmouth Relay for Life but it would be after midnight by the time she and others travelling with her got home. It's like everybody is a family here, you know.

Kelly O'Rourke, spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society's Windsor-Essex branch, said the total raised will be calculated after the event, but she is confident they will reach their goal.

This is down from the usual amount of $100,000 per year, Carey said.

"Tomorrow is not a given, we don't know what tomorrow brings, so every day I get up and I love my family, I tell them all I love them". "It doesn't mean we have to empty our bank account for somebody".

With each step, dozens of people in the city of Utica moved closer to a cure for cancer. "We need to work together".

"The people who come do enjoy it", says Ellen Suttle, one of the organizers of the YOLO - You Only Live Once - relay event.

The American Cancer Society is a nationwide, community-based voluntary health organization dedicated to eliminating cancer as a major health problem. Last year, she raised over $5,000.

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6 p.m.: Survivor ceremony with speaker; Survivor Walks and Caregiver Walks. During the survivor lap, cancer survivors and people now affected by the disease walk the track to be cheered and supported by friends, family and caregivers.

"(Survivors are) the reason why we plan this event", Zeller said.

Survivors stand out among other participants by wearing signature purple shirts.

And for Port Orange resident Carla Braga, one of the many cancer survivors present during the Saturday, June 9, event, the day held an extra special meaning. I have made some of the best friendships because of Relay. Some, like Braga had beat breast cancer, for others it had been Lymphoma, the list went on. That same track turns into a living memorial of lighted luminary bags, bearing the names of loved ones who are encouraged to fight on or bags reminding us of our friends that lost their battle.

Luminarias decorated with messages honoring people affected by cancer line the Rock Chalk Park track as part of the Douglas County Relay for Life on Friday, June 8, 2018.

"It's very quiet and very memorable and very somber", Zeller said.

"I was a very healthy individual and did not understand how this could be", she said, "but I never asked myself 'Why me?'".

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