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Local Relays for Life Harris County: 7 p.m. April 26 to 7 a.m. April 27at the Harris County High School Tiger Stadium. Russell County: 7 p.m. May 3 to 7 a.m. May 4 at Garrett-Harrison Stadium in Phenix City. Muscogee County: 7 p.m. May17 to 7 a.m. May 18 at at the Columbus State University main campus, intramural fields.

FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 3, 2013) -- The American Cancer Society's Relays for Life are coming up in Columbus, Harris County and Phenix City. Each year, the event honors those who have survived cancer, those who lost their lives and raises money for cancer research.

The Harris County Relay for Life is 7 p.m. April 26 to 7 a.m. April 27 at the Harris County High School Tiger Stadium. The Russell County Relay for Life is 7 p.m. May 3 to 7 a.m. May 4 at Garrett-Harrison Stadium in Phenix City. The Muscogee County Relay for Life is 7 p.m. May 17 to 7 a.m. May 18 at the Columbus State University main campus intramural fields. The Russell and Muscogee relays each have a fundraising goal of $500,000.

"It's crucial for people to participate," said Dimple Davis, Russell County event chair. "A lot of the (funds) is used for research."

Money also goes to support services, she said, such as the HOPE Lodge in Birmingham, Ala., which provides free support to families going through treatment. There is also the 24/7 hotline and Feel Good Program for women going through breast cancer treatment.

Everyone is invited to attend even if they don't participate in any fundraiser, said David Fletcher, Muscogee County event chair.

"Just come on out and cheer people on," he said.

Those participating in the laps also don't have to worry about being able to race, he said.

"It's not really a race, that's a common misconception," he said. "(People) think they have to run but there really is no running at all."

But if you want to make a monetary donation or do a fundraiser, there is still time.

"Unlike other fundraisers we do… this is a strictly grassroots fundraiser," Fletcher said. "The event itself is a culmination of people's fundraisers throughout the year."

And no amount is too small to make an impact, he added.

Relay for Life begins with a survivor's lap where cancer survivors complete the first lap of the relay.

The Luminaria Ceremony, which begins after dark, is when each decorated luminaria bag is lit with a candle inside and represents a person affected by cancer.

The bags are lined up around the track and represent survivors and a way to memorialize those who lost their lives, Fletcher said.

Since Relay for Life's beginning in 1985, the event has raised $4 billion, which goes to research, education, advocacy and services for cancer patients.

For more information about the Russell County Relay for Life, call 706-593-9101 and visit www.relayforlife.org/russellal. For more information about the Muscogee County Relay for Life, call 706-571-1102. For more information about Harris County Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org/harrisga.

Page last updated Fri April 5th, 2013 at 00:00