In June 30 IssueBy Kim GrahamTimes Journal Reporter
After more than a decade of crusading against cancer, Russell County Relay for Life set a record for donations last Friday and Saturday contributing $182,394 to the American Cancer Society.
Brooke Cary, ACS's community representative, said the event had raised $40,479 toward a $70,000 goal this year but an anonymous donation of $141,916 more than doubled the objective.
The generous endowment was given to Kathy's Grey Matters relay team by an unidentified donor through family members carrying out instructions in the benefactor's will.
Kathy's Grey Matters relay team captain, Kathy Ellis said it's been many months in the making but she waited until Russell County Relay for Life to announce the magnanimous donation.
A cancer survivor herself, Ellis understands the inherent needs of those battling the disease and is taken aback by the contribution.
"A donation of that amount is a once in a lifetime thing," said Ellis. "It's very overwhelming to be on the receiving end and to have a part in that money going to so many people in the position that I have been in."
Ellis is moved by the altruism of the anonymous donor and family.
"It amazes me that people contribute such a very large amount of money to help others," Ellis said. "I'm very appreciative to the family."
"Even though I can't mention their names, I appreciate their generosity."
She said Kathy's Grey Matters raised $2,181 and the addition of the enormous contribution should have put them at first place for fundraising this year but the team bowed out of the competition.
Of the 14 teams registered at the event, 1st Place Overall Fundraising went to First National Bank's team with $12,546 raised.
Steel Fighting/Stephens Pipe and Steel's team took 2nd Overall Fundraising with $5,352 and 3rd Place went to Fruit of the Loom with $3,770 raised.
The Best Campsite award went to Bank of Jamestown's team and Rookie Team of the Year was presented to Steel Fighting/Stephens Pipe and Steel.
This year's relay event was held on the track at the Charlene S. Harris Educational Center in Russell Springs.
About 30 survivors joined in the Survivor Lap kicking off the evening of celebrating the lives of local cancer survivors, remembering loved ones claimed by cancer, and most of all, contributing to the fight for an end to the disease.
Each year, cancer survivors are honored during relay including a Survivor Dinner that was sponsored this year by Dr. Vijay and Michele Jain and held at The Cove.
Luminaries, bearing the names of local citizens whose lives were touched by cancer, lined the track in remembrance of lives lost and in honor of those who battled or continue to battle the disease.
Russell Countians benefit from ACS funds through assistance providing free wigs, gas cards to get to treatment, free lodging at Hope Lodge Lexington or Nashville, and free bras and prosthesis for breast cancer patients.
"It was a beautiful event," said Cary. "Our Relay for Life teams worked so hard this year and we truly appreciate them."
She said unusually cool weather sent some home but others braved the chilly temperatures to continue the event throughout the night.
"Surprisingly, for being the end of June, it was chilly in the wee hours at relay," Cary said. "But we had 3 teams (First National Bank, Anchors of HOPE and Steel Fighting) that braved the chilly temperatures and stayed the whole night."
The American Cancer Society would like to thank the Russell County Relay for Life Committee, our sponsors of the event, the team captains and team members and the community for supporting the event Cary said.
Anyone interested in helping out with next year's Relay For Life can contact Cary with the American Cancer Society's Somerset office at 606-678-0203.
Also to participate, form a team, or dedicate a luminary at the local American Cancer Society Relay For Life, you may call 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org
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.