SOLANA BEACH — In 2006, the most recent year for which accurate statistics are available, more than 11 million people in the United States were living with cancer, a group of more than 100 diseases in which cells in a part of the body begin to grow out of control.
This year more than 1.5 million new cases will be diagnosed and the disease will claim 570,000 lives, according to the American Cancer Society.
To remember those who lost the battle, celebrate those who have survived and raise money to fight the disease, Solana Beach is once again hosting the 24-hour American Cancer Society Relay for Life beginning at 9 a.m. Aug. 14 at Earl Warren Middle School, 155 Stevens Ave.
Relay for Life is an annual event that unites 3.5 million people in 5,000 communities across the country. The Solana Beach event, like all others, will include a
survivors’ lap and luminaria ceremony, which takes place after dark to honor those who have been touched by cancer and remember loved ones lost to the disease. Candles are lit inside bags bearing the person’s name.
Throughout the event, teams take turns walking around the track, with at least one team member in motion at all times. Last year 176 participants on 21 teams raised nearly $16,000. At press time, 25 participants on 9 teams had pledged $2,300.
“It’s a time and an opportunity for our community to come together and share their emotions, share their feelings,” David Carroll, president of the Solana Beach Chamber of Commerce, said.
“We have such a wonderful, special community here,” he said. “I hope that it touches the hearts of each and every one of us who have experienced cancer in our lives because this is an opportunity for us to stand up and say, ‘I will fight back.’”
Visit www. relayforlife.org/ solanabeachca for more information, to sign up or to donate a luminaria.