Organizers are in the final stages of planning for this weekend's Relay for Life at , an overnight walk aimed at raising money and awareness for cancer research.
"I can't believe how fast time is going these days," said planning committee chairperson Sue Holland, a special education teacher at the high school.
Last year, participants raised over $43,000 during the walk around the school's track. Holland said that it appears this year's relay, which begins at 5 p.m., will bring in "near the same amount of donations as last year."
So far, over $14,500 has been pledged and 308 participants on 42 teams have registered to walk, according to Manchester's Relay for Life page on the American Cancer Society website.
"We have some very motivated and enthusiastic teams that have great fund raisers planned for the night of the event," Holland said.
A kick off event to help energize participants. Even though the fundraiser brings in an impressive amount of money, donations aren't everything, Holland said.
"Regardless of the amount of money raised by our community, the event will be a success if one person, one family dealing with the effects of cancer finds hope, and support at our event," she said.
Those who want to register for the relay still have time to sign up online. Many throughout the school district are pitching in — Ridgeway Elementary School's "Bosom Buddies" group is a top fundraiser, having secured $2,700 in pledges.
“All of our schools contribute/participate in some way, including staff, students and parents,” said Lee Bruzaitis, public information officer for Manchester schools.
Though regular participants pay a $10 registration fee, cancer survivors are welcome to attend the event for the Survivor Lap. They can also bring a guest and enjoy a dinner, Holland said.
While the event runs overnight, Holland said that participants are welcome to come for any amount of time.
"There will be entertainment and games all night long, and you do not have to walk, run or stay up all night," she said.
Events scheduled during the relay include the "Rita's Ice Olympics," midnight Zumba and various American Cancer Society programs designed to help those living with the disease improve their lives.
The relay represents "an amazing opportunity to be a part of a very positive community event," Holland said.
"There will be lots to see and do, but the spirit of the event is something you have to experience for yourself. Just about everyone has been effected by cancer in some way, and we come together in support of each other and in the hope that we can end this terrible disease."
The 2012 Manchester Relay for Life schedule of events:
Opening Ceremony: 5 p.m.
Survivor Lap: 7:30 p.m.
Fight Back: 10 p.m.
Luminaria Ceremony: 11 p.m.
Closing Ceremony: 6 a.m.