BELGRADE, Mont. -

Folks from across the Gallatin Valley joined together Friday night in Belgrade to fight cancer.

NBC Montana was there as the Relay for Life kicked off Friday evening at the Belgrade High School track. Survivors in purple shirts walked the inaugural lap, celebrating their personal victories.

The event aims to raise money to help the fight against cancer, but it's also a place where folks can get together to share stories of beating the disease and memories of loved ones.

We spoke with a cancer survivor who said the relay family supported him during his fight with leukemia, and now he's walking to give back.

"Some of the people in this crowd were there to support me when I was fighting cancer, when I did my first 48 straight days in the hospital," said Billie Joe Arthur.

"Some of their volunteers came by my room just as fellowship- I didn't know who they were. And this is a great program to help fight cancer."

Folks set up tents to stay all night for the walk, and will be on the track until Saturday morning.