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YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Wanted: cancer survivors from Yokosuka Naval Base, Ikego and Negishi. Your story can be a part of Yokosuka’s groundbreaking America Cancer Society Relay for Life Sept. 30. It’s the first time the popular stateside event has been held on a military base and a first for Japan.

Survivors are “crucial” to the 12-hour fund-raiser, said Lesia Howard, one of the event’s organizers. They take the relay’s first “victory lap.”

“I know the survivors are out there,” Howard said. “We need to hear from them and what type of cancer they are surviving to kick off the event. … because no matter what country, what nationality, what race or religion you are, you can be part of the cure.”

Not only do survivors play a prominent role in Relay for Life, but they often benefit from the research made possible by the money raised, she said. Yokosuka’s Relay for Life organization set an event fund-raising goal of $15,000.

“New drugs and treatments are coming out all of the time, and if it wasn’t for the research, we’d be losing even more people,” Howard said. “This is for the survivors and for those who aren’t diagnosed yet, which could be any of us.”

Relay for Life will run from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. on the Ikego Housing Area track. Walkers collect pledges to be on the track for the 12-hour stretch, either individually ($10 starting fee) or in an eight to 15-person team ($150 starting fee). The group also sells luminaries ($5) and songs to be played ($3) during the event.

Luminaries light the track at night and commemorate those who lost their lives to cancer — the disease kills 1,500 people a day in the United States and is the second leading cause of death after heart disease. About one in four people get cancer in their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society.

And although Relay for Life started in the United States in 1986, other countries are now doing their own relays to fight cancer.

To sign up as a survivor or for more information, e-mail yokosuka_relayforlife@yahoo.com.

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