WAYNE COUNTY—Helping to fund cancer research across the nation, the annual American Cancer Society's Relay for Life for the Greater Lake Region is set to launch on Saturday, May 18 at Wallenpaupack Area High School.

Starting at 8 a.m. Saturday morning and running through until 8 a.m. on Sunday May 19, this year's Relay has over 51 participants, divided into 19 teams.

Participants this year have raised over $15,276 as of last Thursday, April 18.

“We welcome everybody, survivors, caregivers, people that just want to walk for a friend that might be struggling with cancer,” said Maggie Bova, event chair. “Everybody's welcome. It's a community event.”

She added the whole goal of Relay for Life is “...to one day not hear the word “cancer” ever, ever again. Most of us have all ... lost family members, friends, so our goal is to kick cancer and end it.”

The Relay begins with an opening ceremony Saturday morning, said Bova, and an inspirational speech from survivor, Colleen Edwards, kicking off the day-long walk.

“We will have a canteen for the relayers,” Bova explained. “The Promised Land Sportsman's Association is going to run a concession stand starting at 8:00 on Saturday, May 18, serving breakfast through lunch.”

The Relay will also feature students from the Wallenpaupack Area High School and Middle School competing in various sporting events, and members of the Students Walk Against Cancer (SWAC) team.

“They do some activities and also have an ice cream social,” said Bova of the SWAC team.

Around dusk on the 18th, the Relay will hold its annual Luminaria ceremony, a chance to reflect on those passed and garner hope for those yet fighting, Bova explained.

Leading into this year's Greater Lake Region Relay, Mayors Sarah Canfield of Honesdale and David Kevin Hawk of Hawley signed a joint proclamation Thursday afternoon in Honesdale's Central Park, declaring May to be Relay for Life of the Greater Lake Region Month.

The pair encourage residents to attend and participate in the event.

As stated in the proclamation, Relay for Life nationwide raises more than $400 million each year for research.

As May approaches, Honesdale and Hawley will paint their towns purple in anticipation of Relay for Life.

“Going along with the proclamation, we are doing the 'Power of Purple' in Honesdale and Hawley,” explained Beth Hoffman a long-time Relay volunteer.

Hoffman is in charge of the Power of Purple endeavors in Hawley this year. “This coming week, businesses are going to be invited to join us by decorating in purple with balloons, with ribbons, with whatever they can come up with,” she explained.

More information regarding the Greater Lake Region's Relay for Life is available from event contact, Cindy Delaney, by phone (570-562-9749), email (cindy.delaney@cancer.org), or snail mail: American Cancer Society, ATTN: Relay for Life of Greater Lake Region, 712 S Keyser Ave Ste 1, Taylor, PA 18517.