EUGENE, Ore. -- The American Cancer Society’s annual Relay for Life was held Friday in PK Park.
Organizers said the event is essential to funding cancer research in Oregon. The American Cancer Society is the No. 1 funder of cancer research. All of the Relay for Life events combined are the largest movement to stop cancer in the world, and the Eugene Springfield Relay for Life is the eighth largest one in the world. That’s why their goal this year was to raise $535,000.
Community members said they attend every year because they know far too many people being diagnosed with cancer, and they want to do what they can to stop it.
"More people are still getting diagnosed every year, and that's just a reminder to me that we can't stop," said Susie Hager, a relay participant.
Hager is a survivor. Though she’s now 20 years free of cancer, she said she continues to fight for those who fear every check up and every day.
Zack Allen is one of those people. He said he was diagnosed with cancer about two years ago, and this is his second Relay for Life getting to call himself cancer free. He said the laps kind of remind him of being in treatment in a way.
"Kind of the push to keep going. Like, I'll do one more lap, I'll do one more lap," Allen said. "That's kind of reminiscent of, oh I have to go to chemo today."
Organizers said that yes, the money is essential to this event, but it’s so much more about making people like Allen and Hager feel safe, supported and loved.
"People can come here and get a taste of what we do, how we celebrate survivorship, honor them, and also memorialize people that we've lost to cancer," said Kristen Salladay, a senior community manager with the American Cancer Society.
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