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18th annual Franklin County Relay for Life steps off Friday

Recorder file/Paul Franz
Kim Hawkes of Greenfield, Tracy Holhut of Greenfield and Nancy Sadoski of Deerfield, members of Campers Against Cancer, put luminaries in front of their camp on the infield at the start of 2012's Relay for Life.

Recorder file/Paul Franz Kim Hawkes of Greenfield, Tracy Holhut of Greenfield and Nancy Sadoski of Deerfield, members of Campers Against Cancer, put luminaries in front of their camp on the infield at the start of 2012's Relay for Life.

GREENFIELD — Cancer survivors and friends and family of people affected by the disease will walk for hours around a track this weekend for Franklin County’s 18th annual Relay for Life.

The fundraiser officially kicks off at the Franklin County Fairgrounds on Wisdom Way at 6 p.m. Friday — when those who have defeated cancer are welcome to walk the “Survivors Lap.”

After that first lap, about 1,000 participants from 71 teams will continue walking on the track until the final lap at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday. A luminaria ceremony — where candles are lit all around the track to honor people who are fighting, have fought or lost battles to cancer — will take place just after dusk.

Members of the community are welcome to cheer on the walkers and take part in fundraising activities along the outside of the track, said Sue Pennison, a Greenfield resident who is one of three leading this year’s event.

“One of my biggest goals as tri-chair is to try to get more of the community ... coming out,” she said, “and showing (the survivors) they can go and have this huge family that’s there to support them.”

There will be special superhero-themed laps occurring periodically throughout the evening.

According to the event’s profile page on the American Cancer Society website, the Relay for Life has so far brought in $115,000 — but Pennison said the online tally increases every day. This year’s goal is $250,000.

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