Walking around a track all night might sound grueling, but those who have participated in an annual cancer fundraiser at Elgin Community College say it's not only worth it -- it's also fun.
Kelly Miedwig of Marengo is looking forward to her third American Cancer Society Relay For Life at ECC on June 14 and 15.
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Miedwig, along with her husband and their two children plus other relatives, attended a kickoff event Saturday at the college.
"It's just fun to have all your family there and know we are doing this together," Miedwig said. She has lost several relatives to cancer, including her mother.
"It's about having hope that it will be better for people in the future, so they don't have to go through what we've been going through," she said.
Twenty-two teams have already registered for this year's relay -- the 11th annual -- but new teams can register up until the day of the event, said Amybeth Maurer, director of first-year programs and student life at ECC.
Relay For Life consists of walking around the ECC track from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., said Meghan Goldbeck, a field associate with the American Cancer Society's Fox Valley regional office in Batavia.
Teams usually make sure at least one member is on the track at all times, she said. "It's to symbolize that cancer never sleeps," she said.
The night is broken up by different events, like a kickoff celebration at 6 p.m., a luminaria ceremony at 9 p.m. and a "fight back" ceremony from midnight to 2 a.m.
Hampshire resident Debbie Weiman will be participating in her fourth Relay For Life in June.
She and her friend Margaret Hite of South Elgin, who is fighting cancer, are co-captains of a team of about 14 people, she said.
"It's fun," Weiman said. "It's a lot of support and enthusiasm to raise money."
ECC student Justin Kelly will be taking part in his first Relay For Life, along with a team of Phi Theta Kappa honor society students.
His uncle and cousin have been diagnosed with cancer, he said.
"I'm not just doing it for myself. I am doing it for other people," he said.
Relay For Life started in 1985, when Tacoma, Wash., surgeon Gordy Klatt spent 24 hours running around a track and raised $27,000 to fight cancer.
About four million people participated last year in Relay For Life events all over the country, and as far as Ireland and Guam, Goldbeck said.
For more information or to register, call (630) 879-9009 or visit RelayForLife.org/eccil.