CORNELIUS – Relay For Life.

Held in hundreds of locations, it's been called the world largest walk for cancer.

The signs have been everywhere around Lake Norman in recent months. Signups for volunteers and walking teams have been ongoing for the past couple months. So far, more than 20 local teams have raised nearly $50,000.

Now, it’s time to walk. The local Relay For Life group should easily top this year's $55,000 goal.

Relay For Life of Huntersville/Cornelius kicks off at 7 p.m. May 31 at Bailey Road Park in Cornelius. The relay walk event goes for 12 hours, ending at 7 a.m., June 1.

This is how Relay For Life works.

The community fundraising walk for the American Cancer Society has teams camping around a track and team members take turns walking.

In addition to getting a little exercise for a great cause, the Cornelius event features food, games and entertainment for all ages.

The local event begins with the Luminara Ceremony at dusk, where families, survivors and caregivers light candles in personalized Luminara bags to celebrate the lives of loved ones who have died of cancer or those continuing to battle the disease.

Relay for Life began in May 1985 when Dr. Gordy Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Wash., ultimately raising $27,000 to help the American Cancer Society. A year later, 340 supporters joined the overnight event. Since then, the Relay For Life movement has grown into a worldwide phenomenon, raising more than $4 billion.

Those not participating can donate through social media or pledge by email or phone call.  

The fundraiser supports local and national programs, including:

• Hope Lodge, where cancer patients and their families can get accommodations for out-of-town treatments.

• Road to Recovery, where volunteer drivers transport patients to appointments.

• Look Good, Feel Better – services that help patients with their appearance and self-image.

• Reach to Recovery – a program where breast cancer survivor support those who are newly diagnosed. 

Teams can unload their camp gear between 2-3:30 p.m. or 4:30-5:30 p.m.  

For last-minute information, contact Rondlyn Hawthorne of Relay For Life of Huntersville/Cornelius at 704-728-6422.