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Thousands Walk to Fight Cancer

More than 15,000 people participated in the world's largest Relay for Life event held right here in Gwinnett County.

Just as the sun was starting to set on the Friday evening, crowds poured through the gates. An estimated 15,000 people filled the fields. Not for a concert or fair, but to take a stand against cancer at Gwinnett’s Relay for Life.

Linda Story of the American Cancer Society said there were 335 teams participating, making it the largest Relay for Life Event in the world.

“Tonight’s event is really a culmination of many, many months of hard work and raising funds and awareness against cancer,” said Story.

Schools, churches, local businesses and organizations set up tents and booths along the path. The groups raised money by holding events throughout the year. And they continued to collect cash at the Relay by running carnival-type games, selling food and more.

Two of the top fundraisers at the time of Friday’s Relay were North Gwinnett High School and Norcross High School. North Gwinnett raised just over 65,000 dollars. But Norcross was not far behind with 63,000 dollars.

A police escort and South Gwinnett’s marching band officially kicked things off, leading survivors around the path in a sort of “victory lap.”

“Thirteen years and still fighting!” Theresa Domain of Buford proudly shouted.

Supporters like Carolyn Burkes also laced up and hit the track.

“I’m walking because my dad, he’s a survivor of prostate cancer, and my best friend is a survivor of breast cancer, and my step-mom is a survivor of breast cancer.”

One of the highlights of the night was the “.” Thousands of pairs of purple medical gloves were handed out to the participants. The crowd was lead in a hand dance by Mothers and Daughters Against Cancer. They performed a similar dance last year and it was a YouTube hit.

“The Gwinnett community is the world’s largest event and the most passionate community that are truly dedicated in coming together to stand up against this devastating disease,” added Story.

Robin Skinner May 13, 2011 at 07:57 AM
Sharon, What a beautiful story. Your article was the first I have heard about it. Talk about dedication. These supporters where passionate about making a difference in the fight against Cancer. What most impressed me is the top two fundraisers were High Schools. This is amazing.
Sharon Swanepoel May 13, 2011 at 11:55 AM
Thank you Robin. Vanzetta, our Lawrenceville editor, did a great job of capturing the feel of the Relay for Life. People in the community worked for months in advance on the event and there are so many touching stories to go along with each participant.
Vanzetta Evans May 13, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Thanks Sharon! :-)

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