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Kane, Kendall, DeKalb walks raise funds to battle cancer

Relay for Life

Relay for Life walks — to remember victims and show support for those suffering with cancer, and to raise funds for the American Cancer Society — are scheduled at three Fox Valley sites this weekend. Events begin at 6 p.m. Friday and run through 6 a.m. Saturday.

Fifth Third Bank Ballpark, 34W002 Cherry Lane, Geneva

Oswego High School stadium, 4250 Route 71, Oswego

Sandwich High School, 515 Lions Road, Sandwich

People can just show up at the rallies. For information, visit

Updated: July 23, 2012 7:12AM

People throughout the Fox Valley will be walking this weekend to remember victims and support those who are fighting battles with cancer.

The American Cancer Society will host Relay for Life walks in Kane, Kendall and DeKalb counties overnight Friday into early Saturday morning.

The Kane County Relay for Life will be at the Fifth Third Bank Ballpark in Geneva; the Montgomery/Oswego event will be at the Oswego High School stadium; and Plano, Yorkville and other area residents will be walking at Sandwich High.

Events begin at 6 p.m. Friday with opening ceremonies, running throughout the night ending at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Erin Schaffer, regional director for income development at the American Cancer Society said the Kane County and Lower Fox Valley events began in 1995 when 400 people turned out. This weekend, more than 1,000 people are expected.

Last year, the Kane County walked raised about $225,000.

One of the challenges of the 12-hour overnight relay is keeping people entertained and awake. “We have bands, a DJ, balloon maker and various contests,” Schaffer said.

After opening remarks, cancer survivors take to the field for the ceremonial first lap around the track. The second lap includes caregivers to those survivors and after that everyone is invited to join in.

Many of those who take part make up teams walking to raise funds for the American Cancer Society.

Luminaria — paper bags containing a candle or glow stick — are lit in honor of a person who has battled cancer. In the past, thousands of the bags have lined the track glowing through the night as walkers continue their journey to log the most miles and raise donations.

“This is a time when many people come together for one purpose, to eliminate cancer,” said Shaffer.

She said the ceremony of lighting the bags is a very solemn moment for all those in attendance. “It is symbolic at dusk. It reminds people that hope exists and raises awareness.”

While the events begin at 6 p.m., the actual lighting of the bags is usually around 9 p.m.

Another highlight is the “Superhero” lap. Shaffer said there always are walkers decked out in costume — and last year, Lady Gaga was a memorable participant. Money raised through the rallies goes to fund American Cancer Society programs. Among those efforts are providing wigs and cosmetic lessons to survivors who have undergone chemotherapy, and providing rides to patients going to treatments.

The Relay for Life brings out all types of people, those who have survived cancer, have been recently diagnosed or those who know people with cancer.

“It is all about coming together. It is a carnival, camp out and fund-raising walk,” Shaffer said.

There is still time to sign up to take part in the Friday walk in most Fox Valley communities. Participants can call their local American Cancer Society chapter or just come out Friday to take part.

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