When the late Kris Sims organized Canal Winchester's first Relay For Life event in 2006, she had no way to know cancer would take her life four years later.

Sims' passion to find a cure for the disease that claims the lives of more than half a million Americans every year continues thanks to the efforts of her husband, Bill, Canal Winchester's construction-services administrator, and the city's elected leaders, who will be waiting tables for tips in their annual effort to raise money for Relay For Life.

"Obviously, cancer has touched most people's families -- if not their immediate family, certainly friends or others," Sims said. "It touches such a broad spectrum of people, there's no shortage of folks who are looking for outlets to fight it."

City officials will be waiting tables from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 16, at the annual Kris Sims Memorial Relay For Life Dinner at the Frances Steube Community Center, 22 S. Trine St.

That's just a few days before the Canal Winchester-Groveport Relay For Life, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. May 19 on the track at Canal Winchester High School, 300 Washington St. The event includes a survivor/caregiver walk and a luminaria ceremony.

All proceeds from ticket sales and tips at the May 16 dinner will help Canal Winchester's Relay For Life team, the Village People 4 A Cure.

The three-course meal will include spaghetti and meatballs, salad, bread, iced tea, lemonade, coffee and dessert. The cost is $10 per adult and $5 for children age 10 and younger. Tickets can be purchased at the door the night of the event.

Typically, the event raises around $1,000, and donations are tax-deductible. The dinner also features a 50/50 raffle.

Councilwoman Jill Amos is serving her first term in office, but she's been involved with Relay For Life for six years.

While working at Winchester Trail Elementary School, she said, she started a team called the Winchester Walkers in honor of a staff member who was battling breast cancer. Since then, Amos has helped organize a Relay For Life team for Boy Scout Troop 103.

"Not a year has gone by that I don't cry my way through this event," Amos said. "My best friend and grandmother, Shirley Stapleton, passed away from cancer in 2000. In fact, most of my grandparents have passed away from cancer.

"I relay in the hope that someone else's grandparent can be there to see their great grandchildren grow up," she said. "My grandparents all passed away so young."

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