Participants also received medals before starting the walk around the park.
Rain may have delayed the event, but for the hundreds of people who gathered at Riverwalk Park it was worth the wait to be a part of the annual Relay for Life to support the American Cancer Society's mission to fight cancer.
And for Port Orange resident Carla Braga, one of the many cancer survivors present during the Saturday, June 9, event, the day held an extra special meaning. She was simply there; she was alive.
Braga's story began before Jan. 7, 2014, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Prior to that visit to the doctor, Braga never thought she would be told she had cancer. She ate healthily, exercised daily and had no family history of cancer.
"I think my first feeling was that I couldn't believe it," Braga said. "The doctor had to actually sit down with me to explain it."
Braga found out that the invasive cancer would need to be treated with chemotherapy. She remembers feeling angry and afraid to die. She also worried about how she was going to tell her family the diagnosis.
Braga left the doctor's office crying. Then she started making calls. When she spoke to her mother, she told her there could be tears but that she needed everyone to be strong because she wanted to surround herself with people who weren't afraid.
In the following weeks and months, Braga decided that the best way to win a fight is to know the opponent, so she began learning about what was happening in her body. As she did this she would also imagine herself killing the cancer.
"Every breath I took, every moment of my life, my mission was to kill it," Braga said. "During chemo as I was sitting there, in my mind I was killing it."
As she did this, Braga said she began to realize that what she was going through was also about perspective, and she realized that she couldn't worry or have fears about what was happening. She just had to keep fighting.
Then, a year after her diagnosis, Braga was in remission. On Saturday, she was outside at Relay for Life teaching Zumba. She had won the battle against cancer.
"So many children, so many adults go through cancer," Braga said. "Relay for Life is a great event for everybody because it involves the whole community."
That sense of community was present throughout the day, from the moment participants took their first lap around the center of the park while surrounded by friends, family and strangers all united through one cause. And for each person the story was different. Some, like Braga, had beat breast cancer; for others it had been Lymphoma. The list went on.
However, everyone had come together for the same cause and, as Leslie Castillo, Community Development senior manager for the American Cancer Society Southeast Region, said, this day was about finding a way to keep fighting for lives.
"Our mission is to save lives faster," Castillo said. "We want to continuously find breakthroughs."