Raising funds to fight cancer can be as simple as inviting some friends over to watch a ballgame.

Raising funds to fight cancer can be as simple as inviting some friends over to watch a ballgame.

That's one strategy Lewis Center resident Ann Karbler used in her latest fundraising efforts for Olentangy Relay For Life.

"We called it Shooting for a Cure and we invited friends and family over to watch the Buckeyes play Indiana in basketball (with a small donation)," Karbler said. "It was fun and easy."

Her children got in the act as well, collecting donations from spectators during halftime at their own basketball games.

Karbler and company are gearing up for more family fundraisers this spring, now that Olentangy Relay For Life has officially kicked off for the new year.

Relay For Life is an annual effort to raise money for cancer research and treatment.

Participants form teams to collect donations for several months, then come together May 10 at Liberty High School for a night of food, music and inspirational speakers while team members take turns walking or running on the school's track.

A special ceremony at the event will honor local cancer survivors as well as lost loved ones.

Karbler has participated with her family for seven years. She first became involved after her mother passed away in 2001 from stomach cancer at the age of 58.

She was encouraged to join Relay For Life because she said it helps fight all cancer -- even the types that don't often get the media spotlight.

"I like this event so much because it honors all victims and fights against all cancers," she said. "It was my way of doing something to really honor my mom."

Participants can register their team at relayforlife.com.

Teams can attend monthly meetings to get support and fundraising ideas. Meetings will be held at 6 p.m. the second Tuesday of each month through April at Superkick Columbus, 409 Orange Point Drive in Lewis Center.

Event co-chairwoman Sharon Woods said participants can learn to how to approach businesses for donations, or get tips to host an effective bake sale or car wash.

"Any amount your team can raise to go toward the cause is wonderful and we appreciate it, whether that's $10 or $1,000," Woods said.

She said neighbors, church members, co-workers and classmates often work together, but teams can be any size -- even just a single person.

This year, event organizers are hoping to top last year's overall collections of $130,000 with a new goal: $137,000.

Even residents who don't raise funds this spring are invited to attend the Relay event in May to listen to the speakers and participate in on-site fundraisers.

Woods said the event raises more than money -- it raises spirits.

"It brings the community together to not only raise the funds, but it also helps us support each other and gives us hope for a cure," she said.