On your mark ... get set to Relay

<p>Participants walk and run on the track while Relay for Life teams host fundraisers at their camps during the 2013 American Cancer Society fundraiser at Sunridge Middle School in Pendleton. Organizers are registering teams for the June 20-21 event.</p>

Organizers for Relay for Life of Pendleton are gearing up for its June 20-21 fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.

The overnight event features a festive atmosphere as teams host fundraisers from their makeshift camps while participants circle the track throughout the night.

The American Cancer Society encourages Relay for Life to encompass an overnight event to represent that cancer doesn’t sleep.

The event got its start in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma surgeon, ran and walked around a track to raise money for the American Cancer Society. The following year more than 300 people joined the effort and it has grown to include more than 4 million people in 20 countries raising money and awareness to save lives from cancer.

Representatives from Pendleton Relay for Life will be on hand Friday from 4-7:30 p.m. in the 300 block of Main Street during Pendleton Farmers’ Market. People are invited to stop by their booth and ask questions or register a team.

Team registration fees are $150. People also can join teams that are already formed.

The event includes activities for kids, so participants are encouraged to bring the whole family. A special survivor lap and dinner will help kick off the event, which runs from Friday, June 20 at 6 p.m. to Saturday, June 21 at 8 a.m. at Sunridge Middle School, 700 S.W. Runnion Ave., Pendleton.

As the sun goes down, luminary bags will be lit. Dedicated to people who have battled cancer or are currently fighting the disease, the bags will illuminate the path. A Luminary Ceremony will include the reading of names of those touched by cancer.

Relay for Life will continue throughout the night and includes a silent auction, a frozen T-shirt contest, music, lap counting, a quarter lap and activities and fundraisers at team camps. Food also will be available for purchase.

Karen Licurse said about $24,000 was collected during the 2013 Relay for Life of Pendleton. Earlier this week, she said a total of 16 teams have registered for June 20-21 event — but there’s room for more to “Finish the Fight,” which is this year’s theme.

For more information, contact Licurse at 541-429-4114, 541-969-1712, nklicurs@msn.com, Sandy Morris at 541-969-1712, smorrissgee@charter.net or Kayla Bachmann, American Cancer Society staff partner, at 509-783-1574, kayla.bachmann@cancer.org. People also can register at www.relayforlife.org/pendletonor.

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Contact Community Editor Tammy Malgesini at tmalgesini@eastoregonian.com or 541-564-4539.

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