For most, hearing a cancer diagnosis can seem like life-ending news. For all too many, it is. The experience is not any better for friends and family who watch the side effects of treatment tear their loved ones apart physically and emotionally.

Today, 1 in 3 Americans battle cancer at least once in their lifetime, but cancer impacts so many more.

Hundreds of residents rallied together Friday night and Saturday morning at Relay For Life of Erath County to raise money for continued research.

While Relay is a one-night event, 38 teams have been raising money for weeks. Organizers counted almost $75,000 in fundraising campaigns across the county, and with money still coming in from on-site fundraisers at Relay, the total amount raised is expected to near $100,000.

The event mirrors the battle with cancer faced by almost 10,000 Erath County residents. The non-stop walk began at 7 p.m. Friday and continued until Saturday morning.

At nightfall, luminarias lit the path in quiet tribute to lost loved ones. White bags were adorned with old family photos and decorated with personal messages of remembrance.

"Relay is such a special event especially in Erath County," said Chairman Nancy Whitworth. "The night symbolizes the fight with cancer from the celebratory beginning with our survivors to the Luminaria Ceremony remembering those we've lost to cancer, to the hardest part of the walk at 3 in the morning when you really just want to give up.

"We cannot thank this community enough for everything," Whitworth continued. "For coming together and being there for someone diagnosed with cancer to supporting Relay For Life. The people in this county are so generous and committed to defeating cancer."