Thousands of Iowans will be taking part in fundraisers next month to benefit the American Cancer Society. State chapter spokesman Chuck Reed says the Relay For Life is the charity’s largest annual money-maker.

“June is our biggest month and I believe we have 88 Relay For Life events around the state this year,” Reed says, “so if you consider we have 99 counties and 88 events, virtually every county does have a Relay For Life event.”

Part of the money raised goes toward cancer research — as 13 cancer researchers in Iowa are being funded by the American Cancer Society. Of the eight-million dollars brought in by the agency last year statewide, six-million came just from Relay For Life events.

“It’s an event where we remember those we’ve lost to cancer, we celebrate those who’ve beaten the disease and we try to fight back against the opponent, cancer,” Reed says. “It affects one in two men, one in three women in their lifetimes, so it truly does affect if not ourselves, definitely someone we know, a family member, a friend, co-worker, whatever.”

During the events, relay teams camp out overnight and take turns walking or running around a track or path at a local high school, park or fairgrounds. Relay events are up to 24 hours in length and, because cancer never sleeps, each team is asked to have at least one participant on the track at all times.

Reed says it’s easy to sign up online. “Relay For Life-dot-org,” Reed says. “Go there and all you have to do is type in your zip code and it will list all the events in your area, with the date, and you can number down to 10 miles or 20 miles or whatever you want to do. You can get signed up and help us in the fight against cancer.”

The events also feature special contests, bake sales, dinners and a luminaria display to honor cancer victims — and survivors. For more information, visit:

By Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City