On Friday, those who have battled cancer will slide on familiar purple sashes, luminarias will light up to honor those taken by the disease and survivors will take an honorary lap around the track at Lem Brock Field at Henderson Junior High, where Relay For Life of Erath County will take place.
The event officially begins with the opening ceremony at 7 p.m., when hundreds of residents will walk all night to raise awareness and money for cancer research and prevention.
"This year we are spicing things up," said Christi James with the American Cancer Society. "Seventeen years ago we started Relay at a football field and this year we will return."
A venue-change from City Park will help unite participants in the cause and foster a sense of unity.
"This year it's all about community. Lem Brock Field will be a cozy, close-knit space for Relay," James said. "We are bringing the community together to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, remember loved ones who lost and fight back against the disease that takes so many."
During the all-night event, special laps and ceremonies will memorialize various aspects of cancer. Survivors and caregivers will be recognized at 7:15 p.m., the Luminaria Ceremony will be held at 9 p.m. and the Fight Back Ceremony begins at 1 a.m. Saturday.
There will also be no shortage of fun. There will be theme laps, live music and interactive games, and teams will have on-site activities to raise additional funds for ACS.
According to the event website, 563 participants making up 38 teams have already raised nearly $50,000 and participants are working hard to surpass the goal of $110,000 before the event concludes at 6 a.m. Saturday.
ACS estimates one in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.
"That's roughly 10,000 people in Erath County alone," James said. "To me that's what is so important. We have to raise money to find that cure. We dream of the day when someone else hears the words 'you have cancer' and they can rest assured there is a cure."