WINDBER — The 12th annual American Cancer Society Relay For Life was held in Windber on Friday and Saturday at the Windber Recreation Park.
This year approximately 13 registered teams and hundreds of walkers from Windber and the surrounding area took part in the event, said Stephanie Iachini, the income development representative for the American Cancer Society.
Iachini said the event, which is open to the public, had 235 people making up the teams.
"All in the fight against cancer," she said.
This year's goal for the Relay was $79,000, she said. As of Sunday, the total raised was $89,171. "We came in to the Relay this year with $75,000 already raised."
She attributes the success of the Windber Relay each year to it being a "community event. Everyone comes in to take up the fight against cancer together. Unfortunately, cancer has affected all of us in some way. I think that is why the teams here are so driven since many have lost a dear one to cancer. They hope to get rid of cancer for future generations. The passion behind that is what causes them to raise so much money."
Iachini said Relays offer an opportunity for people to come together for one cause.
"There is such a great atmosphere here today," she said, adding that because Relays are open to the whole community, "people can come in and look around especially since teams are fundraising here today. You can check out all the fundraisers the teams are having and of course, sample all the good food."
Because Relays have become the "signature event" for fundraising for the American Cancer Society, Iachini said she works with four different RelaysÚ Windber, Johnstown, Northern Cambria and St. Francis.
"We have over 5,000 Relays across the United States and in 20 countries," she said. "Two years ago, Relays passed the $4 billion mark in fundraising since 1985. It is amazing what determined people can make happen."