Boone County hosts Relay for Life

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COLUMBIA - Hundreds of people impacted by cancer gathered together on a track Saturday in support of cancer fighters and survivors. 

The Boone County chapter hosted a Relay for Life event at Hickman High School. The team fundraiser helps raise money for the American Cancer Society. The seven-hour event started with a speech given from a girl impacted by cancer. 

Ten-year-old Jazzmin Pallikkathayil spoke about how cancer impacted her family. Jazzmin's mother was terminally ill with cancer and died about a year ago. Jazzmin said events like this help her to remember how hard of a fighter her mother was. 

"It feels great to be around family and friends," Jazzmin said. "Family and friends are people who are going through the same thing you are going through. Some of these people are fighting like my mom fought."

Cancer survivors and caretakers took a victory lap around the track to celebrate their fight against cancer. Volunteers also set up several activities for people to participate in. They had a frozen t-shirt contest, performances from dance teams and bands, and food trucks for participants to enjoy. 

Near the end of the event, there was a luminaria ceremony. During the ceremony, candles were lit inside paper bags surrounding the track that symbolize those lost to cancer. Boone County chapter volunteer Sara Reindel said this part of the event means the most to her.

"It's just really emotional and for me that's what it all about that's why we do it. I even get a little emotional just talking about it," Reindel said. "When I see my grandma's name on a bag  or my friend who is my age who just beat cancer, it reminds me of what we really do this for."

The funds raised at this event go toward research and medicine for those battling cancer. 

The event will closed at midnight on Saturday.