(Jen Rynda, Patuxent Publishing / May 30, 2013)

Cancer patients, survivors and caregivers will unite as one Saturday for Catonsville's annual Relay for Life Event.

The June 8 event, hosted by the American Cancer Society and held on the track at the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore, will start at 6 p.m. Saturday with a survivor lap around the track.

Teams will have at least one member walking around the track from then until 6 a.m. Sunday.

"The big thing we want to do is educate the people, educate the community, to know that the resources and support are out there," said one of the event coordinators Francine Churchill.

She said she watched her 32-year-old niece die from breast cancer in 2006 and her favorite uncle died from lung cancer three years later.

"I just want to make a difference and not let her life be in vain," Churchill said of her niece.

Event co-coordinator Lynette Lindy is a six-year breast cancer survivor.

"I was diagnosed in 2007," Lindy said. "It's actually a whole entire year of your life you're going through the battle. A whole year all you're seeing is white coats and everything is cancer."

Lindy said that while she was going through treatment at Mercy Hospital in Baltimore, she would speak to patients and survivors about how they coped with their illnesses.

Lindy said she saw the American Cancer Society's work throughout the hospital. After her treatment, and then taking a break from all things cancer when she went into remission, she decided it was time to give back again. She began working with Churchill to plan Relay in 2011.

"It's for research for other people coming along ... some we can ultimately find a cure," Lindy said of the event.

As of last week, teams registered for the Catonsville event have raised more than $56,000. That number is expected to grow in the days leading up to Saturday's event as well as on Saturday. Those wishing to contribute have until July 31 for their donations to be accepted.

One Catonsville family has been working closely with Churchill and Lindy to on the event planning committee while overcoming their own battles against cancer.

David Herman and his wife, Erika, moved to Catonsville from Millersville in October 2012.

The very next day, his mother died from breast cancer.

Once they were settled in their new home, the couple decided they wanted to get involved in the planning process for the local Relay event.

"I think it's just a good way to remember her," Erika Herman said of David's mother.

David Herman's grandfather had died from melanoma in August 2012 and both he and his wife know many other friends who have been diagnosed.

"My family has been hit with cancer pretty hard," he said. "I had lost a friend to breast cancer (as well). It's everywhere."

Herman's mother had been in remission for eight years when the disease resurfaced. The Hermans' two daughters walked in a survivor lap with her at a previous Relay event in Hanover, Pa.