It was difficult for organizers to realize a decade had passed since that first rain-soaked Relay for Life at Thomson Middle School. But 10 years of fundraising and awareness is exactly what they are celebrating during the 2007 event.
Relay Co-chair and Thomson Mayor Bob Knox announced the theme for this year's McDuffie County Relay for Life Tuesday evening at the event's annual kickoff: "Ten years and counting."
"I want you to enjoy this relay like you never have before because we are celebrating 10 years," said the Relay's other Co-chair Peggy Willis.
Organizers and team captains met at Thomson's Augusta Tech Campus to celebrate last year's accomplishments - namely, raising more than $235,000 for cancer research and education - and begin planning to surpass those fundraising efforts.
"These big numbers don't come from deep pockets. These big numbers come from big hearts," Ms. Willis said.
Mayor Knox announced that the total amount raised from all previous McDuffie Relays topped the $1.2 million mark following last year's numbers.
American Cancer Society Community Manager Summer Garrison told organizers that McDuffie County was tops in the nation for money raised per capita with growth after raising $10.90 per person in the county.
Organizers announced other goals for the 2007 Relay. They hope to raise $225,000 - an increase of $25,000 over last year's goal. They also hope to have 2,400 participants at the event on 56 teams and include 275 cancer survivors in the opening lap.
The 2007 Relay will be held at the Thomson High School track beginning at 6 p.m. on May 18 and ending the following morning at 9 a.m.
The next meeting will be Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Augusta Tech Campus. Anyone interested in starting a team is asked to call Mayor Knox at 706-595-1841 or Ms. Willis at 706-726-2244.