The annual Columbia Falls American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life will take place at the Columbia Falls High School track on the night of July 12-13 This year’s theme is “Relay Under the Big Top,” chairwoman Dina Wood said.
There will be carnival games and prizes, and people are encouraged to play the parts of their favorite carnival characters and circus acts.
The event will start at 6 p.m. and run through 7 a.m. the next morning, as cancer survivors, family, friends and community members gather and walk the track to raise money for cancer research and support services. Some people will walk all night and into the morning. One year, a man jogged the entire 13 hours.
“Cancer never sleeps, so people give up a night of sleep,” Wood said.
Wood said a misconception is that funds raised by the event don’t stay local. That’s not true, she said. Some funds are used to provide benefits like hotel rooms, transportation and other support services for people who need to travel for cancer treatment.
Wood is a cancer survivor herself — she’s been cured now for four years. This year’s event will also recognize Taylor Peterson, the Columbia Falls High School senior who died of cancer last year.
Wood said she expects about 200 to 225 people to show up. People don’t have to stay all night — it’s really a family event, and anyone can attend. The walk will be emceed again this year by Karl Skindingsrude, of Special K Productions.