Eugene's Relay for Life: 'This is how we strike back'

EUGENE Ore. -- It was a record breaking 24 hours at this year's Eugene Relay for Life.

A new high attendance was set as over 8,000 relayers to the Willamette High School track on Friday and Saturday. That is 2,000 more than last year's relay. This year the number of registered Cancer survivors that walked doubled to 800.

One of the supporters at this year's event walked for the entire 24 hours of the relay. Chris Johnson recently lost his wife, Terri, to cancer. He said that part of the record attendance is because of how many people are impacted by cancer.

"There's no one around that doesn't know someone with it or who has survived it." said Johnson. "This is how we do it, this is how we strike back."

It was supporters like Johnson that helped raise over $600,000 for cancer research and and awareness. This did not reach the Relay's goal of $680,000, but event organizers said that they will count money donated until August. They anticipate that the funds generated this year will be one for the Eugene Relay for Life history books.

The relay also attempted to break a world record for having the most mascots in one place and time. Three busloads of costumed animals, foods and sports icons filled three buses to come walk the track in what was called "Mascots for a Cure".

In total 161 mascots attended this year's relay, which was six short of the world record held by a German town. Either way they had a huge influence, organizers attribute over $10,000 of the money raised today to there attendance.

At the Willamette High School track,

countless numbers walk, not one looking back.

Some walk fast while others slow,

every one of the with their own reason to go.

But by the looks on their face,

its easy to see no matter the pace.

So they walk, round and round,

never losing hope that a cure will be found.

Until then, despite any strife

they relay ... for life.

-Tony Gist