CORNING - Corning-Painted Post Middle School was filled with hundreds of participants and cancer survivors Friday for the 2018 Relay for Life.

The event started with a survivor dinner before everyone made their way outside, where they stayed up throughout the evening and into the morning to raise money for cancer research and patient support.

“It brings everybody together,” said Cheryl Hollenbeck, lead nurse at the Guthrie Cancer Center. “As a survivor you’re not alone in this fight against cancer.”

To kick off the evening, participants walked several laps around the middle school track in a show of solidarity and strength in the face of cancer.

Several hours into the night, the lighting of luminarias took place to pay tribute to those who have died and to celebrate those who’ve survived. The luminaria lighting is an annual tradition at Relay for Life.

Some survivors have participated in Relay for Life several times. But this was the first time for Corning resident Beth Mattison.

Mattison spoke to everyone at the survivor dinner about her fight and her journey. She said she appreciated the opportunity to share her experience and hopes her story will help promote awareness of screening and prevention efforts.

“It means a lot,” she said. “You want to get the word out to everybody to be checked. You never know what’s going to happen.”

Relay for Life takes place across the country and is coordinated by the American Cancer Society.