Valdosta Daily Times

May 1, 2013

Relay for Life: A life-saving tradition

The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA — When the American Cancer Society was founded 100 years ago in 1913, people knew little about the disease. It took decades for physicians to uncover the mysteries behind the fast-growing cells and learn to treat them. Cancer was once was a virtual death sentence. Today, if caught and treated early enough, it doesn’t have to be.

In celebration of those who have battled the disease and to raise money for a cure, runners and walkers participate in the annual American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. This year, Valdosta is celebrating its 20th anniversary of the event.

Relay for Life begins 6 p.m. Friday with a survivor lap at the Valdosta Middle School track and ends early Saturday morning. Participants raising money for cancer research from dozens of area companies, churches and civic organizations will be on the track through the night and into the morning. That first lap, though, is reserved for those who have battled the disease. And won.

Relay for Life events across the country raise large sums of money for cancer research. The survivors have benefited from the research already done, which has led to advances in detecting and treating the disease. For those who succumbed to the disease, a special luminary service around 9 p.m. on the track will recognize and honor them.

For this year’s event, 95 teams and 833 participants have signed on, raising $133,788 so far, and the number is expected to go higher.

If you are interested in participating, visit