There will be a whole lot of walking going on the valley in the coming weeks. Yes, it's Relay for Life time in our area, so let the fundraising, fellowship and fun begin.
The Brooke-Hancock American Cancer Society Relay for Life, now in its 16th year, will begin at 6 p.m. at the Follansbee Middle School football field.
The relay will include a mix of live music, games for all ages and other activities for participants to enjoy when it's not their turn to walk around the track. It will conclude at midnight, a change this year that was made to encourage more involvement in the later hours.
This weekend also will see RFL participants in Harrison County at Sally Buffalo Park. The "Colors of Hope Survivors' Dinner" is planned at 6 p.m. Saturday for all cancer survivors and their caregivers who want to attend.
And the season locally will wrap up on June 20-21 at the Robert Kettlewell Memorial Stadium at Indian Creek High School in Wintersville, as the Jefferson County Unit of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life gets under way.
The ultimate goal of all the relays is the fight against cancer, and that's especially important in our area, which continues to have some of the highest rates of cancer in the nation.
The relays are culmination of the efforts of hundreds and hundreds of volunteers who give of themselves in an effort to help family members, friends and even people they've never met. Teams camp out and walk through the night, raising funds for every mile walked. The relays offer informal, fun and emotional activities, to be sure.
Our area relays also feature survivors taking the opening lap, bringing hope to those suffering with cancer, and those who lost their fight to the disease are memorialized.
Through the work of the Relay for Life programs, money is raised to help provide services for cancer patients and their families.
The relays also serve as a reminder that we must continue to do all we can to promote healthy living, early prevention and support the medical advances and researchers who are, as the cancer society motto goes, trying to create a world with more birthdays.
The ACS says the Relay for Life "represents the hope that those lost to cancer will never be forgotten, that those who face cancer will be supported and that one day cancer will be eliminated."
We must also thank the thousands of area pupils and students, teachers and school administrators who have held relay events through the school year, all in an effort to raise funds for cancer research. Without the schools' assistance, funding goals could not be reached.
The Relay for Life program continues to be a beacon of hope for so many in the Tri-State Area. So remember, even a small contribution allows hope to continue in the fight against cancer.