Celebrate survivors

Krystle Wagner • Jul 21, 2015 at 12:29 PM

Hundreds of community members will walk the track during a 24-hour event to support the American Cancer Society.

The annual relay is a fundraiser for the society's cancer research and treatment programs.

The 2013 Relay for Life Grand Haven/Spring Lake will kick off with a community dinner at 6 p.m. Friday, May 10.

The relay in Grand Haven in May 2012 brought out about 400 participants. Combined with a relay held in October 2011, about $40,000 was raised for the society.

The October event has since been eliminated from the schedule.

Participants will begin walking the White Pines track at 3 p.m., three hours before the official kickoff dinner. Cancer survivors will celebrate with a lap around the track at 6:15 p.m. and a Luminaria Ceremony takes place at 9 p.m.

The closing ceremony is at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, May 12, but walkers will continue the relay until 3 that afternoon.

This year’s goal is to have 24 teams raise $60,000 for the American Cancer Society. So far, 17 teams have signed up for the event, said Marie Matuszak, a community representative for the society's Great Lakes division.

“It’s awesome to see the community come together for such an awesome event,” she said.

Jackie VandenBerg said the event has a special meaning to her as family members have been impacted by cancer. She also said she participates in the relay because of the programs the American Cancer Society supports.

“As my daughter grows older, hopefully she won’t be impacted much by it,” VandenBerg said.

Matuszak said there’s still time to participate, whether joining a team or creating your own. For information, visit relayforlife.org.

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