The American Cancer Society’s main fundraising event, Relay For Life, hosted its kickoff party Tuesday at Mel’s Burger Joint in Copperas Cove.

“Our goal is to raise $50,000 this year,” said event chair Beatrice Bagwell.

“All the money we raise goes back to the American Cancer Society for programs and services that are offered for free to patients and families,” said Brooke Honza, an American Cancer Society community manager.

Services include free wigs for those who have lost their own hair because of chemotherapy, and free rides for patients to and from treatment sessions.

This year’s relay will be from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. June 1 at the S.C. Lee Junior High School track field. Individuals or teams of up to 15 people can register to participate in the relay.

Participants can raise money by having their own fundraising activities. Suggested activities include bake sales, garage sales, selling food and other goods at the relay itself or pursuing sponsors and soliciting donations from the public.

Another Relay For Life goal is to raise public awareness about cancer prevention and treatment. The event also offers residents the chance to support patients and survivors, as well as mourn those who lost their cancer battles.

“We are trying to get as much community involvement as possible and bring Copperas Cove together in the fight against cancer,” Bagwell said. “Patients, survivors and family members impacted by cancer need all the support that we can give them.”

“Cancer runs in my family, and I definitely want to be out there to support the cause,” said Sasha Dork, a relay participant.

All meetings leading up to the event will be at Mel’s Burger Joint in Copperas Cove. The next meeting will be Feb. 28.

As of Wednesday, eight teams had signed up for the event and more than $1,500 had been raised.

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