In July 1 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
The 2010 Russell County Relay For Life raised approximately $62,000 for the American Cancer Society at this year's event, according to Clarissa "Moochie" Hart, the local Relay chairperson who oversaw the event.
"The event was a huge success in my opinion," Hart said. "No, we didn't hit our goal, but it's not just about the money. To me it's about properly showing respect to our friends and family who are battling this horrible disease and honoring those who have passed on."
Hart said everyone is feeling the strain of a tight economy right now.
"So I think raising over $60,000 is phenomenal and knowing that the money we raise actually helps our Russell County cancer patients is a huge success in my book," she said.
The Relay, which was given the theme "Let's Knock Cancer Out Of The Park", took place in a new location at the track of the Russell Center near the Lady Laker softball fields this past Friday and Saturday. The event celebrates the lives of local cancer survivors and remembers those whom the disease has claimed.
"As for the new venue, I think it worked out great," Hart said. "We had access to real bathrooms, the lighting was better, we had access to electricity so we didn't have to run generators as we have in the past and overall, the new venue worked out very well and we were very pleased with the switch."
The local Relay For Life has until the end of August to try and meet their 2010 goal of $70,000. Money is still trickling in, Hart added.
The money donated goes to help locals fighting the disease by providing monetary assistance and also funds cancer research.
The American Cancer Society has helped cancer-stricken patients in this county by donating free wigs through their free wig program, helping with gasoline cards for those that travel for treatment, support groups, and providing stays in the Hope Lodge in Lexington, Nashville, or Cincinnati.
Hart said 200 luminaria, or candle lanterns, honoring those who have battled the disease were lit around the track, creating a track of glowing lights. This also helped to light the relay track through the night for the Relay walkers, who took turns walking laps for a cure. There was continuous walking around the track for the entire event.
Participants also took part in numerous games and activities at the event.
Around 200 people came and went throughout the night with 30 people staying the entire 12 hours, Hart said.
The event began at 6 p.m. Friday with a survivor dinner sponsored by Lakeway Chiropractic and Plain & Simple Catering's Sherry Daniel and Barb Coffey.
"The dinner was moved inside and was held at Liberty Baptist Life Center," Hart said. "We had a lot of compliments on the meal and the location since it kept our survivors inside where it was cool."
Hart said one of the highlights for her was the Ol Boys Toys Antique Car Club giving the survivors rides from the church to the event, parade style.
Fourteen active fundraising teams participated in the event designed to celebrate cancer survivorship and raise money for research programs of the American Cancer Society with seven teams setting up overnight campsites at the event, according to Hart. Those seven teams were Melody's Pink Panthers, Russell County Dispatch, Russell County Hospital, Russell County High School's Anchors of Hope, First National Bank, Friendship Baptist Church and Bank of Jamestown.
Also raising money, but not setting up campsites were Kathy's Grey Matters, Rick Neff HVAC, New Victory Baptist Church, United Citizens Bank, Fair Oaks Nursing Home, Community Trust Bank and the Russell County Health Department.
Hart said the top fundraising team was Kathy's Grey Matters while second place went to First National Bank and third went to Melody's Pink Panthers.
She said approximately 50 survivors registered for this year's Relay and joined in the night's walk of hope and survivor recognition rally.
Corporate sponsors for the event included Lake Cumberland Regional Hospital, Rick Neff HVAC, Bank of Jamestown, First National Bank and Commonwealth Cancer Center.
The Relay For Life is the American Cancer Society's signature activity and offers everyone in a community an opportunity to participate in the fight against cancer, according to their Web site.
Anyone wishing to help out with next year's Relay For Life can contact the American Cancer Society's Somerset office at 606-678-0203.
Also to participate, form a team, or dedicate a luminaria at the local American Cancer Society Relay For Life, you can call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org
Relay For Life has three main purposes: To celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer, to remember loved ones lost to the disease and to fight back against the disease.
There is not a required amount of money to raise in order to participate in Relay For Life. The only requirement to participate in Relay For Life is the $10 registration and commitment fee that is due upon registration.
After that, anything you can raise through individual, team, or online fundraising is accepted, according to their website.
Hart wished to send special thanks to Joey Hoover of WJRS for use of the sound system, Gary Robertson with Lake Cumberland Feed and Farm for use of a watering tank, Zack Burton with Zack's Superior Service for helping with the electrical needs, Somerset Community College, McDonalds for donating breakfast, Bro. Rick Neff for the use of a tent, P & J Trophies and Mark Antle with A & S livestock for use of a stage. She also sent thanks to the teams who worked so hard all year long and to our American Cancer Society Community Representative Brooke Cary.
Chairpersons for the event were Alice Marcum, luminaria chair, Zach Grider and Zach Smith, activities and events co-chairs, Ross Haynes, logistics chair, Melody Haynes and Lisa Gosser, awards co-chairs, Rick and Dianne Neff, sponsorship co-chairs, Patti Lamb, accounting chair and Rachel Wilson, survivors chair.
The RCHS Anchors of Hope team won the "Golden Pillowcase" award for having the highest percentage of people still at relay at 6 a.m.
Rachel Wilson won the "Golden Plunger" award for taking the plunge and getting in involved with relay. She jumped right in, headed up the survivor committee and got the antique car club involved, Hart added.
Zach Grider and Zach Smith won the "Moving on Up" award. They moved from being Anchors of Hope team members to committee members this year.
"They did a wonderful job getting our activities planned throughout the night," Hart said.
Melody's Pink Panthers won the "Spirit" award for the third consecutive year.
"Their team always had someone ready and willing to participate in the events all night long," she said.
The Russell County Dispatch won "Rookie Team of the Year" while Rebecca Haynes won the "Heart and Soul of Relay" award for being such an enthusiastic advocate for Relay.
"She was constantly encouraging people to attend relay via her Facebook page," Hart said.