The Barbour County Relay for Life already has raised all but $9,000 of its annual goal, and chair Kim Stemple said that participants will be working hard to raise the remaining funds at Friday's event.
The Barbour Relay has raised $51,000 of its $60,000 goal. The official opening ceremonies take place at 7 p.m. Friday at the Barbour County Fairgrounds.
Stemple said 17 participating teams will join together this year to help finish off the goal. They will sell food at their camps and host games and raffles to help raise the funds.
"I think that it is important for people to do that to raise money," Stemple said. "I feel it's important because cancer needs to end. Before it can end, there has to be research, and for research, you need money."
The local Relay for Life event also helps fund wigs and travel expenses for local cancer patients. Stemple said the Barbour County Relay for Life has been raising funds for at least 13 years.
"I think Relay for Life in Barbour County has been a success for so long because the people in Barbour County are adamant about ending cancer here," Stemple said.
Cancer survivors will meet prior to opening ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. for a group photograph at the stage area under the pavilion. After the opening ceremonies, the cancer survivors will be introduced and will walk their first lap.
"My favorite parts of Relay for Life are the luminaria service and the survivor lap at the beginning," Stemple said.
The event also will feature games, a scavenger hunt, cake walk, Zumba and a snack contest into the early morning hours of Saturday.
"Our Relay for Life is an all-night event. We Relay all night because cancer does not sleep," Stemple said.
One of the most symbolic events of Relay for Life is the luminaria service, featuring candles being lit in remembrance of those who have been lost to cancer or in honor of those who are battling the disease.
"The luminaria service is the best part of Relay for Life. It is honoring the survivors and remembering the fallen," Stemple said. "It's a time for memories and reflection. It's a time for healing."
Stemple said that this year's Relay also will feature the Locks of Love program.
"Locks of Love is a wonderful organization that provides children with wigs," Stemple said, adding that if anyone wishes to participate, their hair must be at least 10 inches long.