Thousands of people turned out to Ridge Ferry Park in Rome Friday for the annual Relay for Life event.

The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is a life-changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against the disease. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length.

Relay began in 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon in Tacoma, Washington, ran and walked around a track for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society. Since then, Relay has grown from a single man’s passion to fight cancer into the world’s largest movement to end the disease. Each year, more than 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities in the United States, along with additional communities in 19 other countries, gather to take part in this global phenomenon and raise much-needed funds and awareness to save lives from cancer. Thanks to Relay participants, we are creating a world with more birthdays a world where cancer can’t claim another year of anyone’s life.

Anyone can participate in Relay For Life. Friends, families, neighbors, classmates, sports teams, etc., can form their own teams. No matter who you are, there’s a place for you at Relay.