Commentary by Amanda Netsch

The past four years in the Lake Norman area have been an amazing evolution from quaint local towns to a self-sufficient, booming community. A community that shares desirable neighborhoods, family-friendly recreational activities, and state-of-the-art medical facilities also welcomes a charity striving to help local residents in their fight against cancer.

Relay For Life was created for communities like Huntersville and Cornelius to support the American Cancer Society and residents that have been affected by cancer. Just like the towns, Relay For Life of Huntersville has evolved from a small event of only a few teams relaying for 12 hours to a well-oiled, volunteer-driven event with more than 20 teams each year. The goal for Relay is for the community to take ownership of the event and make it their own. Each year, the Huntersville Relay planning committee strives to get everyone they can involved in Relay, from local businesses sponsoring and making donations to survivor events, to calling on school bands and choruses to perform the opening ceremonies. This is where we as Relayers make the fight against cancer fun!

It’s time for our community to come together again to fight back against cancer! This year we are happy to welcome back our returning teams Bright Lights, Survivors of 2012, PartyLite Heaven Scent and CBO Cancer Crusaders, as well as initiate new teams, including Walgreens Huntersville, Perimeter Posse and Walkers 4 Life. Each year we continue to grow our team base, bringing back existing teams who hold their traditions of decorating the campsites with photos and posters and engaging new teams who bring fresh ideas to the event. We hold quirky events to raise money toward our teams fundraising goals in the months prior to the Relay and then we also have fundraisers at the event! We sell amazing food and sweet cupcakes, paint faces and braid hair all during the event to earn those last few dollars to reach or exceed our goal, all while holding a Luminaria Ceremony celebrating the survivors in our community to remember those we’ve lost. The great thing about Relay For Life of Huntersville is seeing returning teams year after year such as Bright Lights and learning their stories and the reasons why they come back.

There are so many ways to get involved in Relay For Life of Huntersville and there is still time to do it. This year’s event begins June 22 at 7 p.m. and runs through June 23 at 11 a.m. at Richard Barry Memorial Park in Huntersville (directly behind Barnette Elementary). Join one of our 15 teams or create your own team with family and friends.

If you are a cancer survivor, we want to honor you. You can register on the website to stand strong during the honorary Survivor Lap and join in the Survivor Activities throughout the night. We encourage every resident of Huntersville to grab your workplace friends, youth groups, school clubs and church groups to start a team and join in on the fun! Help us continue to raise awareness about Relay For Life and create a world with less cancer and more birthdays!

Congratulations to the Herald Weekly on its 10th anniversary, and thank you for supporting Relay For Life of Huntersville.

Amanda Netsch is the Relay For Life of Huntersville Marketing Chairwoman. For more information visit www.Relay or call your local Charlotte American Cancer Society at 704-552-6147.