An event held for the past eight years in Palmerton to raise funds in the battle against cancer has netted over $1 million.

Recently released figures show this year's Relay For Life of Palmerton and Surrounding Communities generated enough money to eclipse the threshold.

The theme of this year's event was "A Million Reasons to Celebrate" to commemorate Relay for Life's 25th anniversary nationally. Teams fundraise all year long in support of the event. Palmerton's Relay for Life the only of its kind in Carbon County was one of 217 community and collegiate events that raised $21.1 million statewide in 2007.

There were 463 Luminarias, 643 participants, and 225 survivors who took part in the 24-hour event in May at the high school athletic field.

In the end, the event had raised $113,000. After the Palmerton Fire Co. No. 1 donated proceeds from its fourth annual firefighters carnival in May, the committee was less than $5,000 shy of the $158,000 in order to reach the $1 million goal.

Since then, contributions were turned in to Relay that raised the grand total to $1,000,802, according to Marie Steigerwalt, who served as event chairwoman.

However, Steigerwalt cautioned the numbers were gross profit, and therefore, haven't had the expenses deducted.

Steigerwalt provided a breakdown of the numbers, "raised by a tremendous group of people," since the event formed in Palmerton in 2002.

She said $118,222 was raised this year; $145,000 in 2008; $137,380 in 2007; $138,200 in 2006; $155,000 in 2005; $132,000 in 2004; $102,000 in 2003; and $73,000 in 2002.

Steigerwalt said Relay is currently in search of volunteers to fill in the positions for the 2010 committee such as event chair and event co-chair. Those interested in making a difference in the fight against cancer by helping with Relay For Life may contact its new American Cancer Society staff partner, Caylan Chanwik, at caylan.chanwik@cancer.org [1].

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