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The American Cancer Society Relay for Life of Madison and Iron Counties will hold a kickoff party for the annual event at 6 p.m., Jan.16 at Black River Electric Cooperative in Fredericktown.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Madison and Iron Counties is holding a 2018 Kickoff event at 6 p.m., Jan. 16 at Black River Electric in Fredericktown.

Past, present and future teams are invited and encouraged to share the invite to family, friends, cancer survivors and any possible new participants.

"We are totally changing things up for the 2018 season and we think you will become as excited about Relay as we are," Relay for Life event lead April Sarakas said. "I look forward to sharing our new ideas with you at kick-off, as well as hearing any new ideas that you would like to incorporate into the 2018 Relay."

The kickoff will highlight how the community has benefited from the funds raised and how the teams can do their part in the fight against cancer. This will be an opportunity to register a team and pick up supplies for the June 9 event.

"This is our community's opportunity to help save lives from cancer by taking our message to more people and raising more dollars to fund the fight," Sarakas said. "Together, our efforts can make a big difference."

According to the American Cancer Society, Relay for Life shows how cancer patients never stop fighting even if they are tired, so for one night neither do the teams. More than 5,200 communities and 27 countries participate in the event to remember loved ones lost, celebrate survivors and raise money to fight cancer of all kind.

This year's Relay for Life main event will be held from 2 p.m. to midnight, June 9 at Kelly A. Burlison Middle School. Teams and individuals will camp out at the school and take turns walking or running around the track. Teams will always have a member on the track symbolizing the constant fight against cancer. The rest of the team will continue to raise money through food, games and activities as they take turns on the track.  

According to the American Cancer Society, donations are used to fund life-saving cancer research, patient support services, prevention and education information, and detection and treatment programs. The money raised from last year helped provide 456 thousand free nights lodging for patients at Hope Lodge, over 1 million calls from patients and caregivers looking for advice and support and $406 million in cancer research grants.

For those who do not live close to Fredericktown, but would still like to help support the Relay for Life of Madison and Iron Counties, donations can be mailed to Relay for Life, C/O April Sarakas, 1501 West Highway 72, Fredericktown, MO 63645.

If you have any questions before the event, contact Sarakas at 573-747-6690.

To keep up to date on current Relay for Life events and fundraisers visit www.facebook.com/Madison-and-Iron-County-Relay-For-Life-365191051415/

Victoria Kemper is a reporter for the Democrat News. She can be reached at 573-783-3366 or at vkemper@democratnewsonline.com

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