A group of Middle Township High School students and local community members walked circles around the high school track for 12 consecutive hours May 17-18.

"Cancer is a disease that never sleeps, so we didn't sleep," said Victoria Deever, of Avalon, chairperson of Relay for Life of Middle Township and a senior at Middle Township High School. "We walked around the track all night."

Middle Township High School's student council sponsored the second annual Relay for Life of Middle Township on May 17-18, raising more than $19,000 for the American Cancer Society, with 46 participants, including 15 cancer survivors.

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Last year's inaugural event raised $15,000 and was chaired by 2012 MTHS graduate Tess Bright, of Cape May Court House, who reached out to the Relay for Life organization to host the local event.

"I thought our school needed something like it. I know so many people who have cancer and people whose familes have cancer," Bright said. "The only other event in our area is one in Ocean City."

She said it's a great feeling to know that even on a local level, you can make a difference.

"It's a growing event and we just hope to see it keep growing every year," said Deever, who was also a member of last year's event planning committee.

"Working with the event last year, I just realized how many people in our county are affected by cancer, how many families, and I just knew I wanted to be a part of helping to find a cure," she said.

Aside from the walking, this year's relay included games and music through the night to keep participants motivated and awake, as well as a survivor lap and reception and guest speeches by Cape May County resident Jeff DeVico, whose son Jay is a cancer survivor, and Casey Erdman, a 2012 Middle Township High School graduate whose father received a diagnosis and died when she was in high school.

"It makes you feel good to be a part of something so positive and uplifting," Deever said. "We have to fight back."

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