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Thousands expected for annual Relay event

File Photo  Thousands participate in the "Purple Hand Dance" during last year's Gwinnett County Relay for Life at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville.

File Photo Thousands participate in the "Purple Hand Dance" during last year's Gwinnett County Relay for Life at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville.

LAWRENCEVILLE -- Hundreds of teams and thousands of participants will join together Friday night to celebrate the fight against cancer.

The Gwinnett County Fairgrounds will host the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life event beginning with the opening ceremony at 6:30 p.m. The event will also feature a survivor lap for all cancer survivors, a luminaria ceremony to remember people who lost a battle with cancer, who currently have cancer, or fought it in the past. The closing ceremony will be at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday and offer a reminder to fight back against cancer over the next year.

This year's Gwinnett Relay counts 262 teams and 6,202 participants who have raised more than $1.1 million so far. The event typically draws thousands more people along with those involved with a team.

Area executive director Cathy Longino said she was excited to see everyone at the event. Longino said what the teams from Gwinnett County Public Schools have contributed is "absolutely incredible."

"We are so grateful to the Gwinnett community for their amazing support of Relay for Life. All of our teams are doing fantastic with their fundraisers," she said. "If you're a cancer survivor, please come out and let us celebrate your survivorship. You are the reason why we Relay for Life."

Additional parking and shuttles will be available at the Lawrenceville Church of God (329 Grayson Highway) and the Gwinnett Elections Office (455 Grayson Highway).