Purple ribbons and purple window paint will adorn McKinney storefronts beginning Saturday, April 13 to kick off a two-week pep rally to celebrate cancer awareness and to get people fired up about participating in the city’s annual American Cancer Society  fundraiser, Relay For Life.

The 12th annual Relay For Life of McKinney, presented by Darling Homes, the event’s title sponsor, is an over-night  fundraiser that celebrates cancer survivors and their caregivers, and remembers those who’ve lost their battle with cancer. It will be held 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Friday, April 26 at the Ballfields at Craig Ranch, 6151 Alma Road. People join teams and walk throughout the night and raise money for the American Cancer Society. This year’s fund-raising goal is $515,000.

The night will kick off with honoring and recognizing cancer survivors and their caregivers. Those who have registered to participate in Relay For Life of McKinney, presented by Darling Homes, will be the first people to walk along the track. Each survivor’s and caregiver’s name will be read aloud as the survivor receives a medal and is cheered on by attendees, other survivors, family members and cheerleaders.

After the survivors lap and caregiver lap are complete, the ballfield lights will dim as a moment of silence will be held for the annual Luminaria Ceremony. Luminaria, which are bags that are decorated with the names of those who have lost their battle with cancer, will be placed along the track as the crowd participates in a moment of silence to honor loved ones who have lost their battle with cancer. White luminaria cost $10; red luminaria cost $25; blue luminaria cost $50; and purple luminaria cost $100.

After the Luminaria Ceremony team members will begin walking and competing for various  fundraiser games and competitions set up by teams and the 2013 Relay For Life of McKinney Committee. Those activities and fund-raising events including themed walks, such as the popular and funny Mr. Relay walk where men will be dressed in women’s pageant dresses, tiaras, and boas, all in fun, to compete for the coveted crown of Mr. Relay! Live music from the Maylee Thomas Band, Zydeco Stingrays, Katrina Kaye, Rachel Teague, The Banditz, The Final Four, and many more! People may still register as participants or form teams at RelayForLife.org/McKinneyTx.

There will also be a Race For Relay lap contest where contestants will have a driver who will walk around the track and represent their team. Teams will be provided materials, such as cardboard to build a would-be race car to wear or hold while walking, box cutters, construction paper, tape, and glue to decorate the car. People are encouraged to dress in their best race attire and to bring extra supplies if they want to.

This year’s Relay will also feature the Amazing Race game where people will visit various check-in sites and hunt for clues to compete in challenges throughout the ballpark. People can also get into the spirit by fighting back against cancer in the Fight Back karate demonstration booth where you can try your hand at board breaking with the best!

McKinney goes purple for Relay – Businesses can help celebrate cancer awareness by purchasing purple ribbons, which feature the color of Relay For Life, purple, by contacting Paint The Town Purple Chairwoman and 12 year Relay For Life volunteer Janet Trowbridge at 972-658-4242 or janettrowbridge3@gmail.com McKinney Mayor Brian Loughmiller will officially kick-off Paint The Town Purple the evening of April 13 in downtown McKinney in conjunction with the downtown’s monthly Second Saturday event.

“The American Cancer Society Relay For Life of McKinney is a life changing event that gives everyone in communities across the globe a chance to celebrate the lives of people who have battled cancer or are currently battling cancer, remember loved ones lost, and fight back against a disease that has touched all of us in one way or another,” Trowbridge said. “This is a great opportunity for business owners and the public to show their spirit in helping to fight cancer while spreading the word about Relay For Life!”

People may still purchase purple ribbons to decorate their doors, windows, store fronts or anything else during the next two weeks during the Paint The Town Purple event to help raise community awareness about Relay. Trophies will be awarded for to the person or business that has the most “most creative”, “most purple”, and “most fight back spirit.” Just contact Trowbridge at janettrowbridge3@gmail.com .

Currently, Relay For Life of McKinney is the third largest event in our region, the High Plains Division of the American Cancer Society. Our Relay is the third largest event behind the Relay For Life of Bay Area and the country of Guam. As of April 7, 161 survivors, 174 caregivers of cancer patients, and 825 participants has registered to participate in the 12th annual Relay For Life of McKinney. Also, 94 teams had been created for this year’s Relay event. To register as a participant or cancer survivor, become a sponsor, or to volunteer at the 2013 RFL of McKinney, please visit RelayForLife.org/McKinneyTx.

Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back. Hope Big.