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Relay at JHU Raises More Than $131,000 for American Cancer Society

Relay for Life finish line

Several hundred people turned out in June to help American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Southern Montgomery County reach its $100,000 fundraising goal.

The target was reached before the event even began. In all more than $131,000 was raised for research, education, prevention efforts and programs to help cancer patients and their caregivers

The American Cancer Society, for the third consecutive year, held its annual Relay for Life Southern Montgomery County event at the Johns Hopkins University Montgomery County Campus. (JHU is among the event sponsors.) The fundraiser brought together hundreds of cancer survivors, their families, community members and others who wanted to show their support in the battle against this disease. (photo gallery)

Thirty-seven teams representing approximately 325 people participated in the fundraising event.

Relay for Life started at noon and wrapped up at midnight, symbolizing that cancer never sleeps.

“When you leave our Relay event, think of the cancer patient leaving their last treatment,” said Nikki Miller, event lead. “Just as you will be exhausted and drained when you leave, so is that cancer patient after treatment. But there is hope in the new day.”

Survivor Amanda Palmer recounted her experience with cancer.  At 30 years old, she ignored the nudges of her husband to go to a dermatologist to get a spot on her leg checked out.

Finally, she got it tested and learned she had melanoma.

“Take care of your skin,” said Palmer, now 35 and cancer free.

The theme of this year’s event was Carnival for a Cure. Teams walked laps around the parking lot. The first lap was dedicated to survivors. Caregivers joined in for lap 2. The third lap was the parade of teams. At dark, a luminaria ceremony was held, with candles illuminating white bags in honor and memory of those who have been touched by cancer.

Guests at a survivors’ brunch participated in a roll call of survivors; the American Cancer Society estimates there are more than 15.5 million cancer survivors alive in the United States today.

Relay for Life began in Tacoma, Wash., in 1986 and is now an international fundraising movement, with events in 5,000 communities in 20 countries. This year marked the 21st year for Relay for Life of Southern Montgomery County (formerly Relay for Life of Rockville).

Relay for Life events raise a combined $400 million annually.

“When we raise money through the Relay for Life of SoMoCo, we help the American Cancer Society save lives and finish the fight against cancer,” Miller said. “As we enjoy each other’s company, let’s never forget why we are here. Our survivors and those no longer with us are the reason we need to finish the fight against cancer. Each and every one of you is here because you feel compelled to make a difference. And together, we can.”