BILLINGS, Mt. - The annual Relay for Life kicked off today to once again honor both survivors of cancer and those who have lost their lives to it.
This year's celebration does look a bit different. The annual celebration is a new socially safe street edition. Instead of running at the West High track participants will now be cruising in their cars. Relay officials invite the public to drive the one and a half mile stretch of 24th St. West from Grand Avenue to Monad Road while celebrating and remembering loved ones.
For one participant who's taking part in the celebration for the first time, this year's event is special for more than one reason.
Ethan Weiland was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma just three short months ago. Ethan says when he initially became sick he experienced flu-like symptoms, so many people thought it was Coronavirus.
"Went to the ER after months of nothing working and multiple doctors. Went to the ER thinking I was just going to go in and go out, took x-rays and hey there's a big tumor in the middle of your chest." says Ethan.
Ethan always thought Relay for Life was an amazing way to honor and remember those affected by cancer, but after his diagnosis, this year's celebration means so much more.
"I guess this year it means a lot more to me because I am one of them now. It's cool to participate with all these types of different people," says Ethan.
Not only will Ethan be participating for the first time in Relay for Life, but he'll also be flying his drove to film the event.
While Ethan fights to beat cancer he continues to find ways to remain positive.
"Maybe down the line I would've thought I would've had it but not at this age so it was really hard and it still is hard but ya know I think I'm slowly getting used to the fact that hopefully I'll be okay," says Ethan.
For any one that's thinking about joining next year's celebration, Ethan has this message;
"It's not just if you have cancer it's a great community. You know everyone is happy here. Lots of people here to talk about anything really, just because they've been through so much and I guess that's why I'm here today."
To donate or learn more information about Relay for Life, click here.