PENDLETON — Cancer survivors and supporters from throughout the region are preparing to take steps to raise awareness and money to fight the disease.

The Relay for Life of Umatilla & Morrow Counties is Saturday from noon to 9 p.m. at Roy Raley Park, 1205 S.W. Court Ave., Pendleton. People are encouraged to form teams or come out and walk or participate in fundraising activities to benefit the American Cancer Society. Money is used to support patient care programs and to fund research to fight cancer.

After the opening ceremony and survivor’s lap, a special luncheon is provided by Safeway for all survivors and their caregivers. Regardless of how recent or how long ago, anyone who has been diagnosed with the disease is invited to participate in the first lap and enjoy the meal.

In addition to raising money, the event assists in connecting cancer survivors, providing support for family, friends and caregivers, and honoring those that have died from the disease. Event highlights include a Luminaria Ceremony at 8 p.m. People are invited to dedicate a luminaria in memory of a friend or loved one who lost their fight to the disease, to support someone currently battling cancer or to honor survivors.

Relay for Life also includes a silent auction (12:30-4:30 p.m.), a petting zoo (2-4 p.m.), special laps, including an animal lap (3:45 p.m.), a kid’s open mic (4 p.m.), adult open mic (6:30 p.m.) and closing ceremonies (8:30 p.m.). In addition, a taco truck will be available throughout the event.

The signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life started more than three decades ago when a colorectal surgeon set out on a track in Tacoma, Washington. With friends, family and patients cheering him on and pledging support, Klatt raised thousands of dollars — but more significantly, he sparked interest in what has turned into a global fundraising effort to fight the disease. While Klatt died in 2014, his legacy lives on as Relay for Life has grown to include 4 million participants in 26 countries.

For more information about Relay for Life of Umatilla & Morrow Counties, contact Carol Preston at relaypendleton@yahoo.com, 541-379-6294, search www.relayforlife.org or visit www.facebook.com/umatillarelay.

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

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