Helen Schell's hair is growing back, and she doesn't plan on trimming it anytime soon.
The 56-year-old Newberry Township woman lost her hair while being treated for ovarian cancer. Schell said she remembers the date of the diagnosis, Aug. 22, 2011.
She said now there is another date she holds dear in the battle against cancer, June 21 and 22, the days for the 19th annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life of York.
The event benefits the society's efforts to raise cancer awareness, to provide services for cancer survivors and their caregivers and to help find a cure for the disease.
"I want to be involved because I had cancer, and I want to help get the cure for cancer," she said. "I did participate (this) year, but I want to do more (next) year."
Schell was among 40-plus people who attended a Relay for Life information kickoff meeting held Thursday at the York County School of Technology in York Township.
Relay for Life is an overnight fundraising walking event in which participants form teams, with teammates taking turns walking on the track for 24 hours.
For the 2012 Relay event, about 70 teams helped raise $237,500, said Katie Cooper, American Cancer Society's income development representative.
The 2013 goal is to have at least that many teams raise $239,000, during the Relay for Life event at York School of Technology, she said.
"Teams are raising money throughout the year for Relay," Cooper said. "They've become a support system for cancer survivors, caregivers, anyone affected by cancer. We're creating a Relay community.
During Thursday's meeting, attendees learned how to register teams, participate in various Relay committees and do fundraising activities.
After the meeting, Sheila Denny, a breast cancer survivor and York Relay chairwoman, said she developed friendships since becoming involved with the annual event.
"I gained friends that I would have never known before," she said. "We're staying together to keep fighting cancer. The relay is a 24-hour walk because cancer never sleeps, so we don't either."
Schell, who has had 12 back surgeries, said she is joining a team for the 2013 event. The last relay event, she walked alone until her doctor arrived, surprising her, she said.
"He took me around the path," Schell recalled. "I was on cloud nine. I was crying. I had nobody to walk the path with me until he showed up. This time, I'm going to be on a team, and I'm so excited."
American Cancer Society Relay for Life of York will hold a team rally and survivor celebration at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 25, in the auditorium of York County School of Technology, 2179 S. Queen St. in York Township.
The event is free and open to the public.
The overnight Relay for Life event is 1 p.m. June 21 to 1 p.m. June 22 at the school.
To participate and to keep up with local meeting schedules and fundraising events, visit the event's website at www.relayforlife.org/payork.
For information, call Katie Cooper at 846-2561 or email her at email@example.com.
-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at firstname.lastname@example.org.