The 2005 McDuffie County Relay for Life may have ended nearly two weeks ago, but money for the cause continues to trickle in.
According to officials at Relay Co-Chair and Thomson Mayor Bob Knox's office, the total amount of money raised as of late Tuesday was about $215,000. That's $7,000 more than the figure announced a week ago.
The final tally should be ready by mid June, but organizers don't expect it to rise much more than that in the next couple of weeks. For second-year Relay Co-Chair Peggy Willis, the current number is already a huge blessing.
"That's awesome," she said. "It's unbelievable how supportive the community is."
Relay organizers set a goal of $175,000 for this year's event after raising $201,000 last year. Mayor Knox and Ms. Willis thought that topping the record number from last year could have proven too tough.
Even though the 2004 McDuffie Relay was recognized as the top American Cancer Society fundraiser in the country per capita, they thought people may have tired of donating time and money to the yearly event.
But to their delight, McDuffie County proved them wrong.
Not only did this year's relay shatter the goal by nearly $41,000, but it also topped last year's numbers by more than $14,000.
Ms. Willis explained the relay's annual growth with cancer's prevalence in the lives of McDuffie County residents.
"When cancer is personal, wow, everybody gets involved, and everybody does a lot," she said, noting her aunt's death from cancer as her reason for initially getting involved.
To Ms. Willis, the money raised for cancer research is huge, but establishing connections between people in the community is the most important weapon in the battle.
"I like knowing that I'm improving the quality of life in McDuffie County by doing this," she said. "I can't do everything, but I can do something. And I think everybody's learning that. ...The more you do the better the community gets."