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Relay For Life needs more teams

LAWRENCEVILLE -- In the past 16 years, Gwinnett County's Relay For Life has raised more than $22 million for the American Cancer Society.

Since the early 1990s, there has been a continuous decline in cancer-related deaths, American Cancer Society area manager Randy Redner said. The five-year survival rate for cancer patients has climbed to 67 percent, and there are 11.1 million cancer survivors living today.

To continue that progress, the American Cancer Society needs more businesses to form teams to participate in Relay For Life, Redner said.

"It's not about the same people doing more. It's about more people doing what they can," Redner said. "We can't go backward. We need your help."

Cisco Systems Inc. hosted a meeting Tuesday morning to encourage business executives to form Relay teams within their companies.

Relay For Life is an overnight team event that raises money for the American Cancer Society and increases cancer awareness in the community. Teams camp out overnight, and team members take turns walking the track throughout the night.

The event symbolizes that cancer does not sleep and that the community will not rest until a cure is discovered, said Linda Story, a senior income manager with the American Cancer Society.

Relay For Life is "an event and cause this community is really passionate about," Story said.

"Gwinnett is home to the No. 1 Relay in the world," she said. "Relay truly exhibits how powerful it can be when the community comes together for a common cause. ... The experience is really life-changing, and the funds the event raises are life-saving."

The American Cancer Society is the largest nonprofit funder of cancer research, Story said. The organization focuses on funding beginning researchers who have cutting-edge and innovative ideas.

The nonprofit organization is also a resource and a place to turn for people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Story said.

The 17th annual Gwinnett Relay For Life will take place May 7 and 8 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds.

For more information about Gwinnett's Relay For Life and how to form a team, call 770-814-0123 or visit www.gwinnettrelayforlife.org.