Participants can expect an earlier start to this year's American Cancer Society Relay For Life.
The 12-hour annual fundraising event will take place beginning 1 p.m. - rather than the usual 6 p.m. time - Aug. 8 at Wheeling Park's Good Lake.
During the Relay For Life, teams take turns walking the track in an effort to fight cancer.
Participants gather around Wheeling Park’s Good Lake during a luminaria ceremony held during the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This year’s event is set for Aug. 8 and will start earlier than in past years.
The goal is to celebrate the lives of survivors, remember those who lost the battle to cancer, offer hope to those still fighting the disease and share proactive messages in the movement towards prevention.
"Last year we had a wonderful turnout. Every year just gets bigger," said Peggy Dolan, a Relay For Life Committee member and Wheeling Park High School teacher who helped create the school's relay team.
What initially started as a small event grew once word spread and people realized the relay is more than a fundraiser.
While Relay For Life walkers begin at 1 p.m., registration for cancer survivors - the true focus of the event - starts at 3 p.m.
There is no fee for survivors, who also receive a free T-shirt.
Also provided free of charge for each survivor, as well as a survivor's one guest, is a survivor dinner at 5 p.m. at the Schwartzfeger Shelter. Interested individuals should register by July 14.
Opening ceremonies start at 7 p.m. with a survivors lap to honor the courage of those who have battled and defeated cancer.
Anyone who has ever been diagnosed with cancer is invited to walk or wheelchair the opening lap in unity.
While Dolan described the Good Lake as a perfect, gorgeous site for the Luminaria Ceremony held at dusk, she also highlighted the sadder significance of realizing that many of the illuminated bags represent those lost from cancer.
During the Fight Back Ceremony individuals can pledge to fight against cancer by having a colonoscopy, quitting smoking or other preventative actions.
The Fight Back Lap will be at 10 p.m.
Many funds raised at Relay For Life stay in the area, according to Dolan. Reach to Recovery and Look Good, Feel Better are both local programs available for female cancer patients.
Additionally, Dolan encouraged those who have never heard about Relay For Life to contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To register for events, form a team or honor someone's battle by making a Luminaria bag donation, visit www.relayforlife.
org/ohiowv or contact local Relay specialist Brady Medovic at the telephone # 404-417-8008,