Despite early morning rain the North Bryan Relay For Life (RFL) Committee is once again celebrating another successful event. According to North Bryan RFL Chair Jenny Miller, this year’s event held on Friday, April 4 at Hendrix Park raised over $44,700.
"The turnout was great," said Miller. "I would like to thank everyone who came out to support this good cause and I look forward to next year."
Relay For Life is an annual fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivorship and raise money for research and programs of the American Cancer Society (ACS). During the event, teams of people gathered at the park and took turns walking laps around a makeshift track. Each team tried to keep at least one team member on the track at all times. The outer side of track was line with team tents/campsites. Each tent was decorated to the theme of a holiday to tie into the overall event theme- Cancer Doesn’t Take a Holiday.
Local singer Lori Mesorio's rousing rendition of the National Anthem opened the fundraising event as the participating survivors officially kicked off night with the opening lap. Sixty-five cancer survivors participated in the opening ceremonies. During the second lap of the event cancer survivors were joined by their caregivers for a lap and then all the teams joined for the third lap.
"This event means so much to all of us who participate," said cancer survivor Lisa Summerford. "It helps empower us to know we can make a difference in the fight against this disease. Everyone is also having such a good time."
At dusk volunteers from First Bank of Coastal Georgia began lighting luminarias that were lining the inside of the track. Over 300 luminarias were purchased in honor of or in memory of loved ones who have battled cancer. According to Vera McCoy of First Bank of Coastal Georgia’s Pembroke Branch the luminarias raised approximately $300.
Two hundred and seventy community members joined forces into 17 teams to raise funds for the event. According to Miller the largest team that participated in this year’s event was the First Baptist Church of Pembroke team. With 30 team members working hard for Team Captains Carolyn Downs and Diane Moore, First Baptist’s hard work paid off, they raised over $12,410 as the top fundraising team of the year.
Also during the event awards were given out for best decorated tent/campsite. A tie for first place went to The Heritage Bank as Scrabble Day, and Pembroke Telephone Company as Thanksgiving, while third place was Faith Harvest Sanctuary with their military styled Memorial Day site.
Throughout the night a main stage with live entertainment and games continued to entertain the crowd way into the wee hours of the morning. At dawn the event was brought to a close with a final lap of all team captains and remaining participants.
"This Relay meant more to me and Jenny than any- because we both lost out parents this year. Jenny lost her mother on Jan. 26 and I lost my father on Feb. 10 and we both pulled through this relay with our heads up and kept going strong. Everyone’s support means so much," said Event Entertainment Chair Mark Crowe during closing ceremonies.
Teams that participated were: BCHS FCCLA - Team Captain, Alex Covington; Beulah Baptist Church - Team Captain Amy Thompson; Ellabell United Methodist Church - Team Captain Theresa Zimmerman; BCES - Team Captain Janet Butler; Faith Harvest Sanctuary - Team Captain Mona Butler; First Baptist Church of Pembroke - Team Captains Carolyn Downs and Diane Moore; Junior Relay Committee - Team Captain Marie Bacon; Lanier Primary School- Team Captain Valerie Sapp; Pembroke Christian Church - Team Captain Debbie Floyd; Pembroke Telephone Company - Team Captains Rachel Beckworth and Miranda Purvis; Redskins’ Student Council - Team Captain Theresa Atwood; and Heritage Bank - Team Captain Sharroll Fanslau.
For more information on the Relay For Life or to become involved in next year’s event contact either Victoria TenBoeck with the ACS at 355-5197 or Jenny Miller at 429-4773.
The Relay for Life of Richmond Hill will be April 11-12 at J.F. Gregory Park, from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
In May, there will be an additional RFL fundraiser in Black Creek with the ‘Friends Fight Back’ RFL Open. This fundraiser golf tournament will be May 24 at 1 p.m. Fax your team and players names to 966-0831 or contact Brandon or Shondi at 610-2081 for more information.
Find out more at the RFL of Richmond Hill web site at http://relay.acsevents.org/site/TR/RelayForLife/RelayForLifeSouthAtlanticDivision?fr_id=8242&pg=entry.