BEND, Ore. -

It took 24 hours, 31 teams, hundreds of people -- and one common goal.

Bend's Relay for Life began at 10 a.m. Saturday and wrapped up at 10 a.m. Sunday. and everyone involved said it was a huge success.

Benefiting the American Cancer Society, the event is held in cities coast to coast throughout the year.

Central Oregon has four relays every year, and Bend's was the third this summer, taking over the track at High Desert Middle School.

Lewis Settle's wife is a 25-year breast cancer survivor. Settle started the first relay in the area, 19 years ago, and each year, he and his wife celebrate her life.

"This is our gift back to the community, and kind of our payback for the air we breathe," Settle said Sunday.

But back then, the event was just 12 hours long.

"The reason behind the 24 hours is that cancer never sleeps," Settle explained. "Cancer patients are on 24 hours a day with their disease, so its very symbolic of that."

Stefan Meyers, staff partner for the local branch of the American Cancer Society, said he has two favorite parts to the event.

"We start off with the survivor lap, where cancer survivors in their purple T-shirts start walking around the track. And then they meet their caregivers, who start walking the other way around," Myers said. "And this year, we had a great turnout. So many survivors walking around, and it's touching to see them celebrate another year here with us and take that lap of victory."

The other highlight of the event for Myers and many others is the luminary ceremony, held at 10 p.m.

"We light bags and put them all around the track, and they have a name of a person we've lost to cancer or who is fighting cancer currently," Myers said. "It is a great, amazing visual and last night, with the stars out, moon in the sky -- it was an amazing ceremony."

The next local Relay for Life is in Prineville, next weekend.

Everyone is welcome, but if you can't make it out there, head online to www.bendrelay.com to donate and learn more.

Already, more than $77,000 has been raised to fund cancer research and programs for survivors locally.