PALMYRA, Mo. -- The 2018 Relay for Life of Marion County -- the largest American Cancer Society event in Northeast Missouri -- will take place Friday evening in Palmyra's Flower City Park.
Teams from around the county will participate in the walking event and related fundraising activities.
Marion County's relay invariably raises more money each year than any other relay in this part of the state, according to Kathryn McDaniel, senior community development manager for the ACS.
Last year, the Marion County event raised $108,000. A similar goal has been set for this year, and already more than $100,000 has been pledged.
One big reason for Marion County's ongoing success is the efforts of the Flower Children -- one of the largest and most successful local teams.
The Palmyra-based team was recognized earlier this year as a national "Team of Excellence" for its fundraising work.
Led by Mark and Stephanie Bross, the team hosts an annual Spring Fling event featuring a dinner, raffle and auctions. This year's Spring Fling in ?April raised more than $81,000 and topped the $1 million mark in total fundraising for the past 18 years.
Susan Berti, a team member, said Relay for Life is important to many people in Marion County.
"I think the event continues to attract so much interest and support year after year because when you ask, ‘Are you or someone you know affected by cancer?' the answer is ‘Yes' an overwhelmingly large percentage of the time," she said.
"When a cause affects you personally, you're so much more likely to get involved. When I lost my husband to pancreatic cancer in 2004, I became personally involved with the Relay for Life. And that was 14 years ago. And I know too many more people who have been touched by cancer."
Friday's Relay for Life will begin with set-up activities from noon to 6 p.m. at Flower City Park. At 6 p.m., silent auction bidding will begin, and participants will start putting out luminaria to honor cancer victims.
An opening ceremony will be at 7 p.m. followed by a survivors' lap featuring Marion County residents who have personally battled cancer. The survivors then will be joined by family members and other caregivers.
After that, representatives from each team will take turns walking the course throughout the evening, raising money along the way.
A competition involving officials from local towns will start at 8:45 p.m. followed by a luminaria ceremony at 9:15, a "fight back" event at 10 and a cardboard car relay at 10:30. A final lap will begin at 11:30, and a closing ceremony is scheduled for 11:45.
More information is at relayforlife.org/marioncomo.