Even under the glare of the hot sun, it was their passion and unbridled belief in the cause that shined brightest of all.

Amid the sweltering heat, participants in the 12th annual Relay For Life of Lower Carbon County and surrounding areas did their best in the fight against cancer.

Held this past weekend at the Lehighton High School football stadium, the 24-hour event raised proceeds to benefit the Carbon-Tamaqua Unit of the American Cancer Society.

Doreen Roth is all too familiar with the evil disease. A cancer survivor, Roth, of Mahoning Valley, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma in December 2010.

Roth said she visited her doctor with a cold. After her blood work was taken, they did a biopsy of her lymph nodes, at which time cancer was detected.

She said she received six treatments, at which point her doctor put her on a two-year maintenance program. At present, Roth goes for treatment every two months.

As she split her time at Relay between the track and brief stays in her tent, Roth said she's learned to cope with her cancer by taking things "one day at a time."

"If I get something done, I get it done," said Roth, 77. "If I don't, I don't."

Through it all, Roth said she's received ample support from her family and friends.

Roth said Relay is another huge source of strength for her to draw from.

"It means a lot to me to see all these survivors here," she said. "They do have a nice program."

Roth had several words of wisdom to impart on others.

"Take care of your health, and get regular checkups," she said. "Get it before it gets you."

The theme of this year's Relay was "Carnival for a Cure".

Caylan Chanwik, Income Development Representative, East Central Division, American Cancer Society, Inc., said that the event numbers - including expenses - are still being finalized.

But, as of this time, Chanwik said best estimates are a gross total of about $83,000, with a net total of about $80,000.

Chanwik noted that while the group's goal is $85,000, they do have a few more months before the Relay fiscal year ends to bring in more money and get closer to their goal.

"Even though we have not currently met our event goal, I think everyone was pleased with what we were able to accomplish this year," Chanwik said. "We had more registered participants and registered cancer survivors than last year, and we raised more money than we did last year."

Chanwik added "we hope that each year, more and more of the community comes out to join us at the Relay and support this event."

There were about 380 registered participants, and 135 registered cancer survivors, she said.

The top fundraising team for this year is Pencor's Hope & Faith, which raised $15,787, followed by The Freedom Strollers, with $12,853, and Shirley's Angels, at $11,860, Chanwik said.

Chanwik said "on behalf of the Relay's volunteer event chair, and myself, we would like to say thank you to the committee members, team captains, team members, all participants, sponsors, cancer survivors, the school district, the entire community, and our ACS Staff partners, for continuing to fight for a cure."

Cheryl Haas, event chair, led the opening ceremonies, followed by a colorful parade of teams in connection with a "fight back" ceremony led by Mission & Advocacy committee co-chairs Sharon Krebs and Sandy Benson.

The survivor celebration was held, in which all cancer survivors were invited to participate. Afterward, the survivors and their caregivers took a lap around the track, with a small reception that followed.

Later on, the heartfelt Luminaria Ceremony was held, in which caregivers and survivors led the first lap, followed by attendees who wished to join in.

In addition to walking the track, there were many activities and games, such as a digital scavenger hunt, Zumba, the annual Team Tug of War, Pinky Promise nail painting, Karaoke, and much more.

There was also a big Chinese Auction, as well as entertainment provided by DK the Disc Jockey Kings, and the band Stickyfrog.

Relay For Life is designed to involve the entire community in cancer education, increase awareness of the mission of the American Cancer Society and its advocacy efforts, and to learn about programs and services available to cancer patients, their caregivers and families.

It is a fun-filled overnight event intended to bring together people to celebrate, remember and fight back.

For more information, call 1-888-227-5445, ext. 3112, or visit www.relay.acsevents.org.

Over $1 million has been raised since the event formed in Palmerton in 2002.

The first Relay For Life event was held in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash., by Dr. Gordy Klatt, and is the nation's largest 24-hour nonprofit walk event.