Ann Martino has roots in Rockwood.
"My daughters went to Selvidge and Woerther," she said. Her roots run pretty deep.
"Now they're both in college."
Martino is the lead organizer of Rockwood Relay for Life, the annual fundraiser to combat cancer.
"The money goes back into the American Cancer Society, for three areas," said Martino. "The money supports people who currently have cancer. There's funding for research to help prevent cancer, and funding to help people who can't afford the testing and screening."
The Rockwood Relay for Life will be held at Marquette High School this year on March 25, from 3 p.m.–midnight.
"This will be the 17th year for Relay for Life at Rockwood. We have raised more than $100 million," she said. "Last year alone we raised $100,000."
So how does Martino account for that?
"The passion of the Rockwood community just comes together. There are a lot of people who have been affected by cancer. They just come together and work the event."
It features games, food and fun.
"Music is playing. It's social," said Martino. "After the opening ceremony we honor the survivors. They come up and say what kind of cancer they survived, and for how long. Thenm we allow them to walk the lap, and in the second lap the caregivers join them. Then, we introduce the parade of teams. We also have the luminaria ceremony to honor survivors and also the ones we have lost."
Marquette Assistant Principal Dr. Dan McGehee is one of the on-site organizers.
"Our team grows every day," said Dr. McGehee. "I just got an email saying someone else has joined our team. We're the Marquette Mustangs. Each team has a member walking on the track at all times. It's a great team environment."
In a recent email to staff, Rockwood Superintendent Dr. Eric Knost said, "Annually, this is an outstanding event in Rockwood. The American Cancer Society Relay For Life is the world's largest fundraising event to end cancer. It unites communities across the globe to celebrate people who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones lost, and to take action to finish the fight once and for all."
Like Martino, McGehee mentioned the luminaria ceremony at the end of the evening. Candles are lit around the track.
"Each candle in a bag represents a loved one lost to cancer," said McGehee. "It's a very powerful moment."
For more information, visit the Relay website: http://www.relayforlife.org/rockwoodmo.