The Pickerington area will be front and center once again in the fight against cancer Friday and Saturday, June 27 and 28, for the Relay for Life of Pickerington-Reynoldsburg, sponsored by the American Cancer Society.
The 18-hour event will take place at Pickerington High School North, 7800 Refugee Road starting at 7 p.m. Friday.
Organizers consider the Relay for Life to be the largest grassroots fundraising event nationwide to fight cancer.
At the local level, money raised by individuals and corporate sponsorship will go towards research, services and programming activities for individuals and families affected by cancer.
Jen Dear of the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce said this year's event will essentially mirror previous events, a good thing considering how successful past events have been.
"The event starts out with the opening ceremony, then the survivor laps," Dear said.
"They are really cool to be a part of because you've got all these survivors walking around the track with families and caregivers cheering for them," she said.
At dusk is the luminaria ceremony, whereupon luminaries purchased in memory or in honor of people touched by cancer form a ring of light around the PHS North track.
At 11 p.m. Friday, June 27, final bids on a silent auction will be revealed, including a balloon ride donated by Keller Farms as well as other notable items.
"There will also be games and activities throughout the night.
Last year they had 'Zumba' at like 5:30 in the morning," she said.
At 9 a.m Saturday, is the second Purple Power Kids and Mascots Fun Run.
Mascots will run alongside youth participants from 3 different age groups.
The mascots will remain after the run for dancing and pictures.
Every participant will receive a goodie bag and certificate.
To register for the fun run, go to www.eventbrite.com.
Day of event registration starts at 8 a.m. at North.
"We'll also have more games, bounce houses and food, lots of food," Dear said.
She said she became involved in Relay for Life more than 10 years ago when a friend was diagnosed with cancer.
"Since then I've had many other friends diagnosed," she said. "There is just too many people out there being diagnosed."
Dawn Grieves, a Relay for Life committee member, is encouraging area residents to show up for the event.
"People can also still donate by getting on our website," Grieves said.
She said there will be other Relay for Life events throughout the year as well.
"We have a Vendor Day in November and Bark for Life fundraiser where people bring their dogs," Grieves said.
"We hope to have that one in the fall," she said.
Pickerington and Reynoldsburg joined forces in 2010 to regionalize the Relay for Life event, which has led to more funding and awareness.
"It's been a good thing," Grieves said.
"We keep reaching out and get more and more people involved from Reynoldsburg, including the business community," she said.
Last year's Pickerington-Reynoldsburg Relay for Life event raised over $20,000 to help fight cancer.
For more information about the Pickerington-Reynoldsburg Relay for Life or to donate, go to www.relayforlife.org or call 1-800-227-2345.