The annual Relay For Life event drew more than 300 participants on Saturday in Mount Airy.
The event kicked off at 4 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park, with the luminary-lined track at the center of the gathering and its focus.
“This year has been a beautiful day,” said Dara Parsons, Relay for Life organizer.
Those in attendance at the event walked through the track, reading the names and messages on the paper bags honoring those who have battled cancer and loved ones lost.
The Relay For Life culminated with a survivor’s lap and luminary service later in the evening.
“We’ve got a lot of survivors who have been registered today,” said Parsons.
This year’s event had originally been set for Oct. 10, but was postponed due to inclement weather related to Hurricane Matthew.
“We had to delay it, which has hurt us a little bit, but it’s still worked out really well,” Parsons said. “The crowd is a little slim, but it’s a good crowd.”
Parson described the event as a culminating celebration for a year’s worth of effort raising money to fight cancer.
The official total will be available Thursday, she said, referencing information available from the the American Cancer Society Relay for Life website indicating that 24 teams and 332 participants have raised $80,950.
Other events held throughout the year include a survivors dinner and candlelight service in August.
“We celebrate the survivors,” Parsons said.
The band Bad Mountain Brew provided live music for the event Saturday.
Ruby Hawks, of Mount Airy, wore a purple head piece with blinking string lights at the event Saturday.
“I’m a survivor,” Hawks said, explaining that she had been diagnosed with cancer one year and seven months ago.
Relay For Life is important to Hawks because, “it’s a thing my husband and I do together since he was my caregiver,” she said. “It’s not just for me; it’s for my aunt, too.”
Booths set up by teams also found different ways to celebrate, such as the Union Hill Friends Church team’s bonfire and free s’mores.
“It’s just something different,” team member Teresa Gwyn said. “People that haven’t had a s’more since they were kids think they’re wonderful. It’s just a treat.”
Gwyn explained that the church has several survivors in their congregation, “So we try to have as many come out as we can,” to the relay, she said.
The team raised slightly more than $1,000.
Gwyn said, “We’re just hoping for a cure.”
Reach Terri Flagg at 415-4734.