READY FOR RELAY: Annual event begins at 7 p.m. Friday at Gordon Wood Stadium

Brown County Relay for Life co-chair Tammy Robinson (left) chats with honorary adult survivor Brandy Bishop during Thursday’s survivor dinner.

The opening bell for the 2014 Brown County Relay for Life weekend sounded with the survivors dinner at the Victory Life chapel Thursday night, while the annual 12-hour walk at Gordon Wood Stadium begins at 7 tonight and runs through 7 a.m. Saturday.

The year’s event will be dedicated to the memory of Cade Boyle, who succumbed to Stage IV Ewings Sarcoma in June of 2013 at the age of 9. The theme of this year’s event is “We Can Be Heroes,” as many booths will be decorated in super hero fashion.

Honorary adult survivor Brandy Bishop, 34, and honorary child survivor Yelena Martin, 6, will arrive in a helicopter at the stadium at 7 p.m. A pair of honorary survivors is chosen each year who exemplify the spirit of the event and are inspirational to all survivors, family members and caregivers.

Bishop was diagnosed with cancer at age 19. She and her husband, Troup, have two sons, Troup and Reese, and she owns and operates her own jewelry business.

Martin is the daughter of Shaunita and Christopher Martin, and was diagnosed with cancer at age 1. Following her recovery, Yelena has participated in every Brown County Relay for Life since 2010.

All survivors in attendance begin the event with the initial lap. Following the survivors’ lap, all caregivers, professionals and family members will make a lap with the survivors. The luminaria ceremony, during which the stadium’s lights are dimmed and candles are lit in honor or memory of cancer patients, will begin at 10 p.m., and Dallas Huston will read the names.

Along with the relay itself, numerous games and activities will also take place over the course of the 12-hour event. Also, Guardian EMS will serve hamburgers at 8 p.m., Little Caesar’s will provide pizza at midnight and Whataburger will provide breakfast at 5 a.m.

Relay for Life is a major fundraiser for the American Cancer Society and helps support cancer research and educational programs. The Brown County Relay for Life has set a goal of raising $80,000 during this year’s event. A silent auction will take place until midnight in conjunction with Relay for Life.

“Our goal is $80,000 and we’re about halfway there now, but most of the money comes the night of the event,” said Brown County Relay for Life co-chair Tammy Robinson.

As of Thursday, 38 teams comprised of 243 participants had generated $25,060.95, according to the Brown County Relay for Life website. The three teams who had raised the most money were One Day at a Time ($3,141.59), captained by Darcy Stockman; Team Cade ($2,832), led by Heather Johnson; and CMS Health Care ($2,543.50), with co-leaders Jared Trowbridge and Lisa Callihan.

Thursday night’s survivor dinner marked the second time that particular event was held prior to Relay itself.

“We used to hold it as part of the Relay before, but this is our second year to do it the night before,” Robinson said. “It just makes it feel a little more special.”