Meredith McCoy's connection to the disease that is expected to claim the lives of an estimated 600,920 Americans this year is not unique.

Whether it be a family member, friend or co-worker, most people know someone who has been affected by cancer.

McCoy lost her mother to lung cancer in 2007. Her father died last February following the same diagnosis.

She and hundreds of others will be on the track at Canal Winchester High School beginning at 4 p.m. Saturday, June 10, to raise funds and awareness of the disease.

After the opening ceremonies, a survivors lap around the track is scheduled at 4:15 p.m. with a special survivors dinner to be served at 5 p.m. A luminaria ceremony is scheduled for 10 p.m.

The American Cancer Society's global Relay For Life events honor cancer survivors and pay tribute to those who have lost the battle.

"I do it for my parents, and I have so many friends who have lost parents to cancer," said McCoy, who co-chairs the Canal Winchester and Groveport event. "It's a great event to see the support that everyone has. Every single person on the track is there because of a tragedy or because of a second chance. Our survivors are the reason we do this."

Founded by Dr. Gordy Klatt in Washington state in 1985, the Relay For Life movement is the world's largest fundraising event to save lives from cancer, according to the ACS.

Since 1946, it has invested more than $4.5 billion in research and funded more than 20,000 scientists at more than 1,000 institutions nationwide.

Each year, more than 5,000 Relay For Life events take place in more than 20 countries.

"The goal of the teams is to have at least one team member on the track at all times to kind of have that relay spirit," McCoy said. "That's not always possible because some of our teams are small."

This year's relay features 18 teams, such as the Miss Canal Winchester Court, Butterflies 2017 and FLM For a Cure.

Run 4 Bender, one of the event's largest teams, pays tribute to the late John Bender, a longtime Canal Winchester High School cross country and track and field coach and city council member. Bender was diagnosed with leukemia and died in September 2013.

The webpage for the Relay For Life team named in his honor calls Bender "one of the most genuine, good-hearted men that many had the pleasure of knowing. Not only was he passionate about competing, but he was also just as passionate about serving, motivating, and inspiring kids of all abilities and backgrounds."

Also in the relay June 10 will be the Village People 4 A Cure, a team made up of Canal Winchester elected officials and others in honor of the late Kris Sims. The wife of Canal Winchester construction-services administrator Bill Sims organized the city's first Relay For Life event in 2006. Cancer took her life in 2012.

The team waited tables for tips in their annual effort to raise money May 17 during the Kris Sims Memorial Relay For Life Dinner at Canal Winchester's Frances Steube Community Center. This year's dinner raised just over $1,370, according to Amanda Lemke, the city's events and communications coordinator.

"We relay because of hope," McCoy said. "Soon enough, our survivors will outweigh those who lose the battle."

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