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Local Relay for Life shoots for $200,000 mark

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By Greg Summers

The 2007 Relay for Life drew more a crowd in excess of 6,000 to Lancaster Memorial Stadium.The goal of the overnight event is to spread awareness of cancer prevention and treatments and cures while honoring survivors and raising money for research to find more cures for cancer.In 13 years, Relay for Life has grown into the county’s largest fundraiser.Relay coordinator Donna Parsons said the reason for such widespread support is obvious.“It continues to grow because people want to support the American Cancer Society and its research efforts, Parsons said. “Cancer has affected everyone in the county in one way or another, be it a family member, a friend or a co-worker.”Organizers of the 13th annual Relay for Life are hoping tonight’s annual event raises more than $185,000 for the American Cancer Society.The relay starts at 6:15 p.m., with the opening ceremony at 7 p.m., followed by the survivor lap, the caregiver lap, the school lap and team lap. “They (organizers) want to hit $200,000 this year and I think they are going to do it,” said Kimberly Gulledge, community field manager for the South Atlantic Division of the American Cancer Society.There are 48 Relay for Life teams this year and many of them will be there tonight selling food and crafts to raise money for cancer-research and -awareness programs.There will be inflatable rides and games for children, a putt-putt course, face painting and a dunking booth.“It’s a family-oriented event where everybody can come out and have a good time for a good cause,” Parsons said. There is a new addition to Relay this year. To help with parking, a shuttle service will run from upper parking lot of Lancaster High School on Normandy Road to the football stadium.Parsons said the shuttles start running at 5 p.m. and will run through midnight. A shuttle, will continuously run every 30 minutes, at the top and bottom of the hour.“The shuttle service is going to be a really big help,” Parsons said. “Folks won’t have to fight traffic. They can just park at the high school and we will do the rest.”Relay team members are asked to park in the visitors’ side parking lot and the public will park in the home side parking lot.Police will direct those who need access to handicap parking to the parking lot behind North Elementary School on Stadium Street. Earlier this week, organizers were keeping a close watch on the weather because rain was in the forecast. However today’s weather calls for a high temperature of about 80 degrees with a low tonight in the mid-to-upper 50’s. “Even if it would’ve rained, they would have rescheduled,” Gulledge said. “Honoring our cancer survivors along with the ones we’ve lost is one of the most important things we do.” Want to go?WHAT: 2008 Relay for LifeWHEN: 6:15 p.m. todayWHERE: Lancaster County Memorial Stadium, Stadium Drive HOW MUCH: FreeWHAT ELSE: Shuttle service from Lancaster High School upper parking lot is available starting at 5 p.m. through midnight and will run every 30 minutes at the top and bottom of the hour.

– Contact features editor Greg Summers at 283-1156