Last year McDuffie County residents were recognized as some of the most generous in the nation for their support of the Relay For Life, and this year volunteers are hard at work again to ensure the success of the annual fundraiser that benefits the American Cancer Society.
A total of 45 teams are set to take to the Thomson High School track from 6 p.m. Friday, May 13 until 9 a.m. Saturday, May 14 with a goal of raising $175,000.
All total, about 2,200 people will walk this year in the eighth annual Relay For Life, and about 225 will participate as cancer survivors, according to spokesperson Peggy Willis.
Officials say the annual relay unites the community, crossing all barriers as individuals unite as a show of support in the fight against cancer.
Following last year's successful event, American Cancer Society spokesman Ryan Atkinson said, "McDuffie County is a textbook example of the Relay For Life because of the way it brought the community together for a common cause."
Last year residents raised $201,817, which put McDuffie County at the top in the nation for per capita support. In addition, McDuffie County won the "Pack the Track" award last year that recognizes communities with the highest number of survivors participating in the relay, based on population.
"On Track for a Cure" is this year's theme, and supporters have already started raising money through several community events, Ms. Willis said.
A traditional, fun way to raise money includes making a small donation so a traveling neon potty can be placed in a friend's yard. A traveling family of flamingos that can be placed in a friend's yard will be coming soon, according to information from relay officials.
In addition, there are several items to be raffled at the Relay including a garden tractor, tickets to a NASCAR race, a 1997 pickup truck, a gas grill, and cash.
Opening ceremonies will get underway at 6 p.m. with the Fort Gordon Signal Corps Band performing. The candle lighting with luminaries is planned for 9 p.m.
The Relay For Life is a signature event from the American Cancer Society started in May 1985 when surgeon and recreational runner Gordy Klatt put in 83 miles in 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, WA. The next year during the effort to raise money for cancer programs more than 200 supporters joined him at the track. Today, more than 4,200 communities across America participate.
For more information on the local event, log onto the web site www.relaymcduffie.org.
Funding the fight
Friday, April 8 -- drawing for metal detector at McCorkle Nurseries at noon
Saturday, April 9 -- yard sale at Cowboys in Thomson
Saturday, April 9 -- poll tournament at Raysville Baptist Church from 8 a.m. until noon
Wednesday, April 13 -- pancake supper at Young Memorial Methodist church from 5- 7 p.m.
Saturday, April 23 -- car wash and bake sale from 9 a.m.-noon at Wal-Mart
Friday, April 29 -- ribeye steak dinner at Thomsom Fire Dept. on Main Street from 5-7:30 p.m.
Saturday, April 30 -- donut sales from pre-orders to be delivered by Second Baptist Church
Friday, May 6 -- bake sale at the Thomson office of Georgia Power during business hours.