When it comes to scientific research into our most deadly diseases, these are exciting times. There is much good work being done. Just the other day, cancer researchers at Yale published in the New England Journal of Medicine their findings identifying what causes one-third of all myelomas. This could change the way this and other cancers are treated. Click here for details.

But these advances don’t come cheap and we have an opportunity to contribute in a very real way close to home. Overnight on May 14, a legion of Wiltonians will gather once again at the Wilton High School track to present the Relay for Life where teams of people will walk, run, hop, skip and dance their way around the track, lap after lap, to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

This is an event that needs an early start to build steam as it gets closer to its date. Next Tuesday, Feb. 16, at 7 p.m., the event’s organizers will hold a kick-off at Westy’s of Wilton self-storage at 65 Danbury Road to give information about the event, and how people can donate, walk, or volunteer to help. Each year the event seeks to raise more than $100,000 for the American Cancer Society.

While many donors, volunteers, and walkers are “repeat customers” who enjoy the program’s family-oriented night of fun, the Relay is certainly a welcoming experience for those who have never participated before. They will find food, games and activities as well as camaraderie.

They will also find inspiration in the Survivors Lap, when cancer survivors take the first lap around the track. They will find expressions of love in the luminaria ceremony, when personalized bags, glowing from the light of a candle inside, are placed around the track in tribute to those who have been lost, are suffering or in some way affected by cancer.

There are several ways to support Relay for Life and its cause.

Volunteers at the event help to do everything from set up tents, to collect money for food and drinks.

Walkers raise money over the course of the year before completing laps around the track until the sun comes up.

Those who can’t make the event can become a donor by sponsoring someone who is walking or donating online at relayforlife.org and search for “Wilton.”

Unfortunately, many of us are touched in some way by cancer. Fortunately many of us can help and one of those ways is by supporting Relay for Life.