Relay for Life

Cancer survivors Debbie Gaither, of Catonsville, at left, and Anna Renault, of Essex, help carry the banner to kick off the 2012 Relay for Life of Catonsville on the track at CCBC's Catonsville campus June 9. (Photo by Nicole Martyn / June 8, 2012)

While most area residents slept last weekend, dozens of people walked around the track on the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County.

From 6 p.m. June 9 to 6 a.m. June 10, cancer survivors walked to celebrate life in the annual Relay for Life event while friends and family walked to remember those who lost their battle with the disease.

In its 14th year on the South Rolling Road campus, the event drew approximately 500 people and raised more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society, said Francine Churchill, as she walked around the track.

"We have exceeded any previous years," she said Churchill, a co-chairwoman for the event with cancer survivor Lynette Lindy.


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Dozens of tents dotted the infield of the track Saturday night where some prepared to catch a few hours of sleep despite the stadium lights and non-stop music.

For the second straight year, Catonsville resident Sean Perry and his 22-member team raised the most money, collecting more than $13,800 this year.

Perry's team combined to walk more than 500 laps, more than 125 miles, by 2:15 a.m. on Sunday.

Though a participant at the past four Relay for Life events at CCBC, this year's edition had special meaning.

Perry's father, Jack Perry, died from liver cancer in April.

"Although he couldn't walk, he was always here. He'd stay as long as he could," Sean Perry said of his father as he fought back tears. "In spirit, we know he's here."