Every footstep will count on May 3 and 4, when members of the Isla Vista and UCSB communities can participate in the Relay for Life and help fight cancer.

The Relay for Life, an all-day walkathon benefiting the American Cancer Society, will come to UCSB for the first time on the first weekend in May. The event began in 1985 when one doctor raised $27,000 by walking for a full 24 hours. Now practiced annually across the nation, the relay has become the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event. Last year alone, Relay for Life drew $245 million nationally. Those organizing the event are optimistic about its success at UCSB.

“The first university campus relay was at Stanford last year, raising an incredible $52,000,” said Laurie Lambeth, local Relay for Life organizer. “[At UCSB], we hoped to raise $10,000, and in order to do that, we need help from faculty, administrators, students. Anyone at UCSB is invited to help out and join the festivities.”

The event, which will be held at Robertson Field, will begin with an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday, during which local cancer survivors walk the first lap around the track. Then, for the following 24 hours, teams consisting of 10 to 15 people will also circle the track, relay-style, with at least one team member walking at all times. Teams are encouraged to bring lawn chairs, tents, coolers and sleeping bags and are encouraged to dress in a theme.

Additional plans for the day include food and a stage featuring live music and dancing.

“The focus is on the event itself, to make it a fun, festive experience,” said Lambeth.

At dusk, relay organizers will hold the Luminaria Ceremony, during which small candles are lit around the track, each one bearing the name of a person who had died from cancer.

“They burn into the night and light the way for the walkers, creating a path of hope,” said Lambeth.

Though organizers have already received applications from their target of 12 teams, they are still accepting more. Anyone interested in entering a team for the event should contact Lambeth by April 18 at 485-4692 or register online at (www.cancer.org).