For 19 years in Houston County, people have been gathering together and walking and walking and walking all night long.

At times the mood is serene, reflective and quiet; at other times there is celebration and laughter. It is the annual fund-raising event for the American Cancer Society - the Relay For Life.

The Relay For Life event location is shared amongst communities of Houston County. This year it will be held in Spring Grove beginning on Friday, Aug. 2 and running through the night until Saturday morning.

"There were questions about having it here in Spring Grove with all of the road construction that will be going on, but we will still be holding it here" said Houston County Relay For Life co-chair, Judy Bratland.

"We have decided to just move the location to the Fest Building grounds instead of at Viking Memorial Park."

Planning and hosting the countywide Relay For Life event takes the work of many people. Volunteers and organizations are needed for many different things including running the food stand, preparing the luminaries, organizing the camping area, helping with the parking and more.

The Houston County Relay For Life will hold its next meeting at 6 p.m. on Thursday, March 21 at Doc's Blue Moose in Spring Grove.

Anyone interested in helping with the event can contact Bratland, (507) 498-5147 or co-chair Joycelyn Rostad, 498-5212.

There will be a Captain's Kick-off sometime in April. Past team captains will be receiving a letter with more details. More teams are always encouraged.

People interested in organizing a team can contact the co-chairs for details on what it takes to organize a team. Last year, there were 30 teams, and this year's goal is to have at least this many and hopefully more.

"Our goal is to raise at least $60,000 for the American Cancer Society," said Bratland. "We are looking forward to planning this event and invite past teams to start thinking about participating and doing their fundraising. We invite new teams to join in the fun and fellowship of this event."

The Relay For Life website,, eloquently explains why so many people participate in this fundraising event, "No matter why you take part in relay, however, one thing is clear: with every step you take, you are helping the American Cancer Society save lives.

"With your help, we aren't just fighting one type of cancer - we're fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community.

"Each person who shares the relay experience can take pride in knowing that they are working to create a world where this disease will no longer threaten the lives of our loved ones or claim another year of anyone's life."