It's a time of fun, fundraising and friendships.

It's a time of fun, fundraising and friendships.

Every year, the Relay for Life fills Central Park with food, games and entertainment to benefit the American Cancer Society. Local faces behind various forms of cancer rally to celebrate survival and remember those who have passed on. The event's meaning varies with each survivor and family member.

“Hope,” said Chris Gartner with a smile. “And friends … it's like an annual reunion. When I was first diagnosed, I thought 'people die from this – they just die,' Then you come here and see all these survivors and hear all of their different stories.”

Gartner and Robin McLemore were diagnosed with breast cancer at the same time 12 years ago. They are both celebrating 12 years of remission.

“I Relay for a lot of reasons,” McLemore said. “But for my children mostly.”

Her grandmother passed away from breast cancer, then her mother after a 10-year battle with the same disease. Then her mother-in-law lost the battle to colon cancer.

“It was a hard year,” she said. “We Relay to celebrate we survived. I am amazed at the advancements in the American Cancer Society. Your donated money couldn't go to a better cause.”

Gartner's Relay team started with Fairview Elementary School, the school where her daughter, Regan (now 17) attended. When she moved up the junior high, “Team Pink” seemed more appropriate, and the name has stayed. On Saturday, Regan helped with the games with her mother.

“You gotta have the fun with it too,” Gartner said. “Especially to get the young kids involved so they'll know what Relay is and help when they get older … The best part of Relay is the support of my family – The fact that they want to come.”