MASON COUNTY — Cancer took it on the chin this weekend when the Mason County Relay for Life raised an astounding $46,011, nearly doubling the amount raised in 2011.
Angela Lanier, co-chairperson on the Relay for Life Committee, called the amount raised “amazing,” especially with the economy where it is at the moment. Mason County’s Relay For Life even exceeded the goal set for it by the American Cancer Society by $10,000.
Lanier attributed the event’s success to several things, including more teams and a lot of community support. In fact, she said the community support was key because Relay cannot exist without it.
This year that support translated into 13 teams with 239 participants registered and nearly 300 attending the event.
This year’s top fund raising team was Charlie’s Angels which took in an incredible $18,545. These other teams also raised a significant amount of money to support a cure for cancer and to fund the free programs offered by ACS - Sacred Heart Catholic Church, $7,197.40; Farmers Piggy Bankers, $3,596.65; Lauren’s Friends for a Cure, $3,019.25; Leon Elementary, $2,514; Krebs Krusaders (Krebs Church), $2,241.67; Bellemead Bell Ringers (Bellemead Church), $1,539.55; The Home Team (PVH Home Health and Hospice), $946.70; Peoples Bank, $635; Roosevelt Elementary, $599.10; Busy 4’s 4H Club, $599; Sandhill Road Church of Christ, $255; Carmen’s Hope, $135.
The top individual fundraisers were sisters Ashten and Madison Crank who each raised $500 each. In addition to the teams and individuals contributing to the massive $46k total, there was an auction held during Relay which consisted of items donated by team members and other local residents - all proceeds went to the ACS. The auction was conducted by local attorney RF Stein who donated his time.
The beginning of the ceremony consisted of the release of a homing dove donated by Kem Browning - and yes, after being relased to open the event, the bird did make it home the next day. The West Virginia State Police and Mason County Sheriff’s Department helped provide security and all the food and beverages were free thanks to donations from local businesses. WBYG did a live remote and Roy Hay donated the sound system.
Again, in all, the community stepped up to put together a successful event.
The event was both moving and celebratory. Of course one of the most moving parts of any Relay is the lighting of the luminaries and reading of the names of those who have passed away from cancer and those who have survived. Also, on the bleachers on the visitor’s side at the PPJ/SHS Athletic Complex were luminary bags set up to spell out “Hope” but in the middle of the ceremony, with just some minor adjustments, those bags went from spelling out “Hope” to “Cure.”
Survivors once again took the first lap around the track and on the second, they passed out flowers made from hand prints to their caregivers. The “flowers” were made to look like lilies and a poem “These Hands” was read to reflect the vital, hands-on role, caregivers provide survivors. After survivors and caregivers took the second lap together, the next lap was for the kids who did a “bubble lap,” blowing bubbles around the track and the fourth lap was for the teams.
Lanier said first and foremost, the Relay Committee wanted the event to be a celebration and she felt that had happened.
“We wanted to keep this a big, community event to celebrate what has been done up to this point…every dollar counts and you don’t know what dollar is going to be that last dollar that finds the cure,” Lanier said.
Lanier also hoped people from the community took away a sense that the money raised at the event is benefiting Mason County now through funding free ACS program that help with everything from transportation needs for cancer patients, to support groups. For more information on all ACS programs, call 1-800-227-2345 - this toll free number is available 24 hours a day.