On Friday, September 13, Ottumwa's Central Park will be filled with walkers who dream of finding a cure for cancer.
Relay for Life has been a tradition in Ottumwa for over a decade and this year's participants will be raising money for research and education for all types of cancers. Cecile Vanwinkle, co-organizer of the event, said the American Cancer Society has hired 13 researchers over the past year to work specifically on finding a cure for cancer. All the money raised from Friday's event will go to support their work.
For everyone that participates in Relay for Life, the most important part of the event is honoring and recognizing cancer survivors and those lost to the disease.
"We also have a luminary ceremony, people can buy a luminary for five dollars, we set them out around the walking track and we light them and they can be in honor of or in memory of someone who has had cancer," Vanwinkle said.
"At the end of the relay, all of the names are read from the luminary bags, and it's just a very touching ceremony because we remember our survivors, but we also remember those who have passed on," added co-organizer Twila Foster. "It's just very meaningful to all of us."
Friday's event runs from 6-9 p.m. with the luminary ceremony at 8 p.m. Registration is $13 a person and you can still sign up to participate on the night of the event.