McDuffie County is still among the best in the nation when it comes to raising money to fight cancer. At an awards ceremony in Atlanta in October, McDuffie won a nationwide award for ranking second place for the most money raised per capita for the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life.
"Placing second is outstanding with the number of relays that go on across the nation," said Summer Garrison, community manager for the American Cancer Society.
Relay For Life Co-Chairman - and Mayor of Thomson - Bob Knox, Relay Co-Chairwoman Peggy Willis and Allan Kane pose with McDuffie County's plaques.
The ranking is chosen by dividing the total amount of dollars raised by the population of the county. There are 16 population brackets ranging from zero to 1 million. McDuffie is in the 20-to-25,000 population bracket.
McDuffie has participated in the Relay For Life since 1998, but did not rank in the top 10 until placing 10th for raising $142,000 in 2003. Last year, McDuffie won first place in the nation for raising $201,000. Total donations for 2005 were $221,000.
"For a county this size to raise over $10 per capita is almost unheard of. We're excited, it was fantastic. We were hoping we'd be number one again, and except for that one county doing so well, we would have. But it was a fantastic event, and we thank everyone in the county for participating, and look forward to another great year next year," said Thomson Mayor Bob Knox, who also co-chaired the Relay For Life of Thomson/McDuffie.
First place in the 20-to-25,000 population bracket nationwide went to Carroll County, Iowa for raising $244,000. McDuffie placed first for the South Atlantic region.
McDuffie County also won an award for having 100 percent public school participation.
"That's not common at all, so it's something to be proud of," Ms. Garrison said.
In July, the American Cancer Society published a new report stating that they are funding 17 new South Atlantic researchers. The Society funds 818 grants nationwide totaling nearly $412 million, and of those grants, 92 are in the South Atlantic Division.
"Every year, we grow and get better, every year we have more people participating, which is a great thing because it's all about survivors," said Peggy Willis, co-chair of Relay For Life of Thomson/McDuffie. "I think the biggest thing we can do is make people aware that they do not have to go through cancer alone, and cancer is nothing to be ashamed of, there is help out there ... This community has people that are ready, willing and able to help."
Relay For Life of Thomson/McDuffie Grand Totals:
1998 - $51,000
1999 - $75,000
2000 - $90,000
2001 - $107,000
2002 - $121,000
2003 - $142,000
2004 - $201,000
2005 - $221,000