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ACS Relay sets goal of $2.5M

LAWRENCEVILLE - Nearly 10,000 will pack the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds next weekend for a two day walk to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Participants will set up and decorate campsites beginning Friday afternoon to serve as shelter and a place to rest between walk laps that will continue through Saturday morning.

About 515 teams will set up more than 400 campsites at the fairgrounds and team walkers will take turns walking around a candle-lit track to show support in the fight against cancer.

Randy Redner, American Cancer Society area director, said the weekend festivities will start with a cancer survivors walk at 7 p.m. Friday.

Redner said the society's goal is to have more than 2,000 survivors walking during the survivors' lap.

Survivors can still sign up to walk the laps on walk day starting at 3:30 p.m. Those looking to register a last-minute team can register before relay day by calling the American Cancer Society at 770-814-0123. There will not be team registration on event day.

Kim Durham, American Cancer Society volunteer, said survivors and their caregivers can participate in the walk free of charge, and all survivors are invited to a free dinner beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday. All who participate in the survivors' walk will receive a t-shirt and pin to remember the event.

In addition to walk, food, games, music, prizes and more will be available throughout the night. Durham said the Relay for Life event is open to community members with no entrance fee.

"This is a wonderful event to bring the family to," Durham said. "We're really hoping the community will come out and catch the spirit of relay."

Durham said massages by certified massage therapists, raffles and bake sales are just examples of what will be included as part of various team's fundraising.

Durham said the fundraising goal for this year's event is $2.5 million. According the American Cancer Society Web site, $912,952 has already been raised.

Durham said Salon 124 will also participate in the event Friday, offering hair cuts for those who wish to donate to Locks of Love. Hair long enough will be donated to the organization to be made into wigs for children who may have lost their hair to cancer, and hair cut sales will go to American Cancer Society.

Durham said all proceeds from the sale of food, raffle tickets, game tickets and other fundraisers will go to support American Cancer Society research, education, advocacy and patient services.

"This event makes a big impact and will help us one day find a cure for cancer," Durham said.