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Honoring those that help fight cancer

The number is months from being finalized, but McDuffie County's Relay for Life has officially topped the $200,000 mark.


Candy Candler (right), representing the Thomson Junior Woman's Club, accepted the Unsung Hero award for the club's work on the more than 1,200 luminaries that lined the track during the Relay for Life. "You would never believe what a bag of sand, a candle, and a label that says 'in honor of' or 'in memory of' means so much to people," she said.
Photo by Jason B. Smith
Local leaders gathered last week at White Columns to celebrate the 2004 Relay for Life and hand out awards to some of the standouts.

"What you accomplished this year was really special, really unique," said Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, who co-chaired the annual walk that raised money to fight cancer.

What Relay organizers and participants did was surpass the 2004 goal by more than $60,000. As of last week, the county had raised $200,317, but money can still flow in until the end of August, and Mr. Knox said he was also waiting on a few corporate donations.

Co-Chair Peggy Willis reflected on the past year and thanked everyone for their support. After all, the local effort surpassed many communities that are much larger.

"We might be little," she said, "but we have a big heart."


Award winners gathered on the front steps of White Columns following last week's lunch.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


The Best New Decoration award went to Moye Pharmacy and their tribute to Teresa Usry, who passed away just weeks before the Relay. Mrs. Usry was diagnosed with cancer a couple of years ago, said co-worker Judy Candler, who accepted the award. Now, her friends and family celebrate Mrs. Usry's life through her grandchild that was born a few weeks ago.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Cancer survivor Tony Hedgecock (right) was emotional as he spoke about his Relay for Life experience -- especially the support from the crowd during the Suvivors' Lap. "I'm 21 years out and being a survivor, the kind of support people give ... that's still touching," he said. Mr. Hedgecock spearheaded the efforts of Dearing Baptist Church during the Relay for Life. The church's team earned a Comeback Award.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Wanda Jenkins accepted the award for most money raised by a team on behalf of First United Methodist Church and team co-captain Lynne Entrekin. The team raised $13,700 and Mrs. Jenkins credited much of that to Mrs. Entrekin. "Lynne was such an inspiration," she said.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Thomson Mayor Bob Knox presents Boyd Lake of Temple Inland with a Comeback Award for the company's support of the Relay for Life. "It's just a great honor and privilege to participate in this," Mr. Boyd said.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Regions Bank -- represented by Mike Love and Margie Hagan -- picked up the award for the Best Decorations Overall.
Photo by Jason B. Smith


Judy Hobbs (left) sobbed as she talked about her team -- Families with Hope. The team is made up of six families who have children that have experienced cancer. "Everybody's story doesn't have the same difference, but we are able to support each other," she said. She also commended the community for its effort to raise more than $200,000 through the Relay for Life. "Cancer is not a battle," she said. "...It is a journey and we are all on it."
Photo by Jason B. Smith

Web posted on Thursday, July 1, 2004

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