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Published January 10, 2011, 10:33 PM

Relay For Life Kicks Off In Grand Forks

One in two men and one in three women are diagnosed with cancer, but some people are trying to stop this at the Relay For Life kickoff event.

One in two men and one in three women are diagnosed with cancer, but some people are trying to stop this at the Relay For Life kickoff event.

"It's not just a white paper bag," said Luminaria Chair Carrie Salberg.

A plain white paper bag does not look like much now, but by June they will brighten up Univeristy Park, and honor some special people.

"It's a time for you to write down the person who is very near to your heart," said Salberg.

Someone who has been affected by cancer. The luminaries are a staple for raising money at the Grand Forks Relay For Life, and they have been brought out again at this year's kickoff event.

"This is the start of our fundraising, getting our teams ready. It's the celebration of getting started with the season," said Co-Chair Tracy Zawistowski.

They had reason to celebrate last year, bringing in almost $175,000.

This year they want to up that by $10,000.

This event brings them closer to their goal with everyone who signs up to fight cancer.

"Everyone knows someone with cancer. Whether it's a family member, a friend, a co-worker,someone on your block. It's a community event," said Advocacy Chair, Brenda Jo Gillund.

Getting involved with Relay For Life is simple. You can register www.relayforlife.org/gf.

All money raised benefits the American Cancer Society. Zawistowski said she finds another type of benefit for herself.

"I love taking that first lap..looking at all those bags and thinking about everyone who has been affected by cancer," she said.

A reason so many people have been on their own journeys to find a cure.

"This person is so very important to you and they have survived cancer or they have died from cancer. This is why I'm here tonight," said Salberg.

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