Relay for Life Bryan County is set for April 27, and there's still plenty of time to sign up.
The 12-hour-long relay is intended to raise funds and awareness for the American Cancer Society. It will kick off at 7 p.m. in J.F. Gregory Park in Richmond Hill and will last through the night, symbolic of the fact that cancer never sleeps.
"Relay is a unique opportunity for the community to fight back against cancer," said American Cancer Society community manager Diane Jorgensen. "It's a way to celebrate survivors, remember loved ones and make a personal commitment to fighting and preventing cancer."
The fundraising goal for the 2012 Relay for Life in Bryan County is $67,500, and organizers are hopeful that it will be met.
"We're still almost a month away, but the community and teams are working really hard to get there. Hard work and support is what it takes," said Jorgensen, who encourages anyone interested to register.
"It's never too late to sign up. We've had teams sign up the week of the event and raise $500. It just takes a community that cares."
According to the event's website, 170 participants and 25 teams have already signed up, raising just over $13,000.
Funds raised by Relay for Life benefit American Cancer Society programs that provide lodging, transportation, scholarships and emotional support to cancer patients and their families.
"Everyone in communities across the country benefits from relay," said Jorgenson. "Locally, it provides things like wigs, support programs and stays at the Atlanta Hope Lodge - things that help cancer patients and caregivers seeking help in Bryan County."
According to information put out by the American Cancer Society, 55 patients and caregivers in Bryan County received assistance from programs funded by Relay for Life last year. Seven of the recipients were uninsured or on Medicaid, and 27 were newly diagnosed.
Civility Bowling, who became involved with Relay for Life in 2008 after her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, stressed that the event's benefits are not just financial, but also emotional.
"Relay is so important to survivors and their families because it allows them to know there are people in the community who are going through the same thing. It's a support system and a part of the healing process," she said.
The relay on April 27 will kick off with a cancer survivors' lap at the opening ceremony.
"We really want survivors to participate and be involved," said Bowling. "We want to reach out to them because they're the reason we do this."
This year's relay will be sports-themed, so participants are encouraged to decorate their campsites with memorabilia from their favorite sport or team.
Children's activities, entertainment and refreshments will be available on the night of the relay.
There will also be on-site fundraising, where teams will be able to sell food, crafts, t-shirts and cancer-related items.
Organizers will hold a team rally April 5 at 6 p.m. at the Richmond Hill City Center. The meeting will go over details for this year's relay and is open to anyone interested in getting involved.
To sign up as an individual or part of a team or to donate to Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/bryanga. Registration is $10 for adults and $5 for children. There is no cost to survivors or caregivers who are not registered with a team.