When it comes to raising money to support people living with cancer and their families, the Lamoille Area Cancer Network runs laps around other like-minded organizations — quite literally. Every June the hosts a walkathon called LACiNg Up for Cancer, in which hundreds of people and scores of teams walk around the Peoples Academy track over and over and over for 12 hours straight. Since its first iteration in 2002, the network has raised well over a million dollars, which it gives out in grants. Some people log a full marathon or more throughout the day — that’s more than 104 laps — while some are content or able to make it around once. If you think that making lap after lap seems absolutely unbearable, you’d be absolutely wrong. And that’s the beauty of the walk: when you step onto the track, you’re immediately struck by how an event meant to remember and support victims of cancer is so simply joyous. There’s music all day, and meals are served by volunteers. There are themed laps where walkers don costumes to strut around the quarter-mile oval. This is all peppered by tear-jerking stories of survival and life and death, friends made and family lost. Nine hours into the event, as the sun dips down over the Green Mountains, perhaps the most touching three hours in Lamoille County takes place. Thousands of white paper bags are wheeled out and line the track, festooned with names and photos, drawing and bits of poetry, all honoring some who survived or succumbed to cancer. At the bottom of each bag is some sand and a single candle, lit as dusk settles. Taken one by one, each tells a story. Taken as a whole, the lines of luminaries blur into a story of us all.
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