Publicity chair Kathy Igielski has issued a public invitation to attend the Relay for Life kickoff party to be held 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. March 9 at the Mazatzal Casino.
"Everyone is invited -- team captains, team members, cancer survivors, sponsors and anyone considering helping out with the relay," she said. "Come join us for appetizers and learn what the relay is all about."
The Relay for Life, which is a team event to fight cancer and is sponsored by the American Cancer Society, took root 20 years ago.
"One man took it upon himself to raise money to support the efforts of the American Cancer Society," Igielski said.
Since those humble beginnings, more than three million Americans nationwide participate in the relay events.
Also, organizers say they expect this year, the Relay for Life will be held in more than 25 countries around the world.
Local sponsors say the local relay is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society. During the event, teams of people will gather at Payson High School and take turns walking or running laps. Each team tries to keep at least one team member on the track at all times.
The Payson relay begins at 6 p.m. June 1 and will continue until 6 a.m. June 2.
Last year, the relay featured 22 teams with 512 participants, more than 100 of whom were cancer survivors.
Following the 2006 relay, event coordinator Marque Jacobs said, "With over 1,000 luminaries honoring those who have fought cancer, some who have won and many who did not, the ceremony at 9 p.m. was very moving.
"There was hardly a dry eye in the house."
The event, she also said, "served to bring home the fact that cancer does not discriminate, nor does it sleep."
Jacobs said, the purpose of the relay is "to give hope to those who hear those dreaded words ‘you have cancer'."
For more information, call Igielski at (928) 468-6521.