Twenty-six teams marched for 18 hours at the June 20-21 Relay for Life at Olentangy High School, raising about $44,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Twenty-six teams marched for 18 hours at the June 20-21 Relay for Life at Olentangy High School, raising about $44,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Teresa Johnson, co-chair for the event, said in addition to raising funds, the relay represents hope and celebrates cancer survivors.

"It is supposed to represent the day and life of a cancer survivor, and the sun rising the next day indicates that there's hope," Johnson said.

Amber Miller, another relay organizer, said the relay opens doors for people and helps communication in the community.

"One out of three women and one out of two men will be affected by cancer. When you communicate with the community about what relay is and does, it opens a door for them to fight back," she said.

Volunteers represented churches, major corporations, service organizations and small businesses.

Teams also brought sleeping bags and tents camped out all night, said co-chair Ann Karbler.

On Friday, a survivors' dinner was hosted by Max and Erma's and SugarDaddy's.

Shortly after the dinner, a Celebrate Ceremony was held and 275 butterflies were released, Johnson said.

She said the butterflies celebrate life and signify the day a cure for cancer will be found.

At 9 p.m., a Remember Ceremony was held and the football field was lit with luminaria.

Johnson said the Remember Ceremony represented people who have been struggling with cancer.

"We are honoring those who have lost their lives to cancer and those who are currently battling cancer," she said.

Throughout the event, a family festival featured a tethered hot air balloon ride, a Chillers Ice Rink and inflatables.

In addition to the festival, a children's fun camp included games and crafts, Johnson said.

The First Watch of Polaris, a cafe, held a pancake breakfast and donated all proceeds to the cancer society.

A silent auction and raffle were held and local businesses donated more than $5,000, Karbler added.

Other events include a Fight Back Ceremony featuring a tae kwon do demonstration. The participants included the relay's honorary youth chair, Jenna Barnett.

"I am looking forward to saving lives through the funds we are generating for cancer research," Barnett said.

Miller said money raised at Relay for Life will help fund more than $100-million in cancer research annually, was well as cancer education and prevention, patient services and patient advocacy.

Miller said, "My goal is to help other people going through (cancer) and make sure my children never have to experience it."

Johnson said those who would like to donate should visit www. events.org/rflolentangyoh.com.