FARMINGTON — Teams will circle the wagons Friday as the Relay for Life of Franklin County begins at 6 p.m. at the Farmington Fairgrounds with a “Wild, Wild West” theme for its 15th year.

The event continues until 6 a.m. Saturday, June 1, with activities related to the western theme. The event is held overnight, symbolizing the fact that “cancer never sleeps.”

“The Relay is an inspiring event for anyone who has fought cancer or loved someone who has fought cancer,” Dee LaPlant, co-chairwoman of the event, said in a news release. “Sometimes, people feel helpless in the face of cancer. The Relay gives us a way to fight back by raising money for research and patient support and to celebrate the lives of those who have survived.”

There are 24 teams raising funds to reach this year’s goal of $55,000. Last year, the event tallied $48,762, Anna Lyon, chairwoman of the luminaria ceremony, said.

Some teams, such as employees of Franklin Savings Bank, have been supporters for several years. Other teams develop because an individual loses someone to cancer and forms a team dedicated to that person, Lyon said.

“It is very much a community event. Every individual counts at the Relay, from those who are fighting a personal battle and those who care for them to the many more who are raising money to eliminate cancer from our lives,” LaPlant said. “The Relay gives us a chance to celebrate survivors, remember those who have not survived and fight back for a cure.”

Celebrating, remembering and fighting back, are, in fact, the primary themes of Relay for Life. Survivors are celebrated as they make the first lap around the track. People with cancer are remembered in the luminaria ceremony, where hundreds of white bags with candles inside line the track bearing the names of those who are fighting cancer and those who have passed on.

Those who have beat cancer or are currently in treatment are invited to join the event for the survivor lap and reception. Those planning to participate are asked to contact Sharon Huff at 645-4509 to register or get information. If unable to call before Friday, organizers say come anyway.

Those interested in seeing what the Relay is all about are invited to observe it.

“The luminaria is moving but not sad,” she said.

From the 6 p.m. start to the luminaria ceremony at about 9:30 p.m., there is plenty to see and participants will be available to talk about their teams. Events, such as line dancing with Mad Louie and a lasso demonstration, are planned. Fun laps, including a backward lap, a chicken dance lap and a final team lap, are scheduled throughout the night.

Donations to the Relay for Life may be made by sponsoring a team member in the community, sponsoring the event or donating online at

Donations may also be made by purchasing a luminaria in memory or honor of someone who has battled cancer.

The local event also has a Facebook page at

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