More than 2,000 people are expected to attend the American Cancer Society’s Annual Relay for Life fundraiser Friday to celebrate the lives of cancer survivors and their caregivers and to give hope to those still battling the disease.

The relay starts at 7 p.m. at Shoemaker High School in Killeen and lasts until 7 a.m. Saturday.

“We go all night because cancer never sleeps,” said Michael DeHart, American Cancer Society Hero of Hope. “You get to meet a lot of people; it’s like a big festival. Our goal is to help celebrate more birthdays.”

The festival features live bands, games, entertainment and local vendors.

Visitors are required to give a $10 contribution, which can be paid at the gate or online at All proceeds go to the American Cancer Society.

DeHart, a cancer survivor, said Relay for Life is not the typical race some believe it to be.

“We start off with a survivor lap where all cancer survivors walk in mass and it’s really an impressive sight to see them walk around the track in one big body,” he said. “And the 1,500 people surrounding the track applaud the whole time. It’s one of those very moving moments that you really want to see.”

Sponsors and volunteers rally teams to participate in the relay and help raise money, DeHart said.

“During the relay, teams comprised of 10-15 members will make their way around the quarter-mile track, which according to the rules must have at least one member walking at all times.”

This year’s goal is to raise at least $175,000, the same amount brought in at last year’s event.

“Relay for Life is the largest nonprofit event in the world,” DeHart said. “More money is raised for cancer research and patient care through this event than all of the other cancer organizations combined.”

Shoemaker High School is at 3302 S. Clear Creek Road, Killeen. For more information, call (254)753-0807 or go to

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