In 2017 Eaton Rapids, Mason, Leslie, and Dansville joined forces for a combined Relay for Life event. This year, June 15 and 16, the aforementioned communities will join the whole of the Ingham County Relay for Life teams. East Lansing and Holt will join in the 18-hour relay around the Ingham County Courthouse to raise awareness, funds, and community support in the fight against cancer.
Relay for Life was started over 30 years ago by Gordy Klatt, a lone walker/runner who stayed up for 24 hours in honor of those who died and still fought in the battle against cancer. He started a nation-wide effort to aid research in the pervasive disease that effect millions every year. Today, Relay for Life still raises millions of dollars for cancer research through the American Cancer Society. However, Relay for Life events all over the country continue to shrink in size and participation, which is why the Ingham County event joined forces with Mason and Eaton Rapids areas.
“It really is a community event,” said Senior Community Development Manager Grace Kozak. “It’s whole communities fighting against cancer.”
Relay for Life events range from six to 24 hours now, with some events, like Ingham County’s, meeting somewhere in the middle. Walking, running, rolling, or moral support take place at the relays representing the relentlessness of cancer in the lives of its victims and their families. Cancer doesn’t rest in the bodies or minds of patients. Many people choose to live with cancer instead of dying from it, but the disease takes its toll either way, sometimes with death, but always with pain.
But the events aren’t just gloom and somber reflection. While they do make time for ceremonies honoring the dead and the survivors, Relay for Life events are also uplifting, charged events with games, competitions, and celebrations. The Ingham County Relay for Life will have food vendors and various small events for teams and relay participants. There will be a chamber of commerce ribbon cutting ceremony at 6 p.m. Friday to memorialize the joining of the joining of the two groups, and the event will be emceed by a representative from WILX.
Readers are encouraged to come to the event, regardless of past participation or not. Cancer, or relation to someone with cancer are not requirements for participation. Two legs and a desire to support and honor those who do suffer are the requirements. While the reach of cancer is wide spread and takes various forms, so too are the resolve efforts to find a cure. Readers can find more information about the Ingham County Relay for Life at secure.acsevents.org, and searching for Ingham County.