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Editor's note: Look for more 2012 Relay for Life photos in multimedia section on the News-Herald's web site home page.
Dozens of friends, family, and members of the community lined the track at Itron Field to cheer on the survivors during their first lap at Friday’s Relay for Life.
As the sun rose 12 hours later, a little over $46,000 had been raised and donations continue to pour in this week.
Owen County’s Relay for Life Co-chair Dawn Davis said about 800 luminaries were sold for this year’s event and an estimated 75 people were still making their way around the track at the event’s closing.
Davis said this was a difficult year for Relay for Life, but still a successful one.
“We had to change the date so that we would not conflict with graduation services at the school and with that change we lost several teams and other participants due to pre-planned vacations,” Davis said. “But we did have many successes. I think this was the largest crowd ever to stay all 12 hours. It seemed more teams and more participants at each campsite were there and active all night.”
As a result of participant and survivor feedback from last year’s event, Relay’s organizers chose to slightly change the luminary service, provide more trash containers, more restroom facilities, enhanced lighting and security.
Davis said thanks to Owen Electric who sponsors the survivor reception, a guest was invited to join each survivor for the reception meal.
The campsite winner for this year’s event was Owen County Primary School with the team captains of Mandy Peters, Tiffany Perry, Bernadette Woodyard and Libby Banks.
Davis said money from this year’s event will go directly to the American Cancer Society and is used for education, advocacy, research and patient services.
“The local cancer resource center at New Horizons Hospital is a perfect example of how Owen County’s money is staying here in the community.”
The resource center provides services such as program information, wigs, prose-tics, scarves, and assists with transportation among other things to local residents.
As the events wind down for another year, Davis said she feels sure members of the community will continue to support Relay.
and its efforts to stamp out cancer.
“People continue to support the Relay because cancer continues to be in the heart and minds of so many,” Davis said. “We have all been touched in some way and we want to help those who are hurting physically and emotionally. This event helps to celebrate the lives of our loved ones, even those who are no longer with us. We all come together for a common cause and while there, we can share some laughs and share some tears.”
Davis said teams, participants and survivors come back year after year and that love and support for local residents battling cancer keeps everyone motivated.
“Motivation to keep going comes each year at the opening ceremony where hundreds and hundreds of people are standing out in hot sun, or rain as in past years,” Davis said. “They’re cheering our survivors around the track for the opening lap. Motivation comes at 3 a.m. when you look around the track and you are not the only one there still walking. Motivation comes at 7 a.m. when the final lap is walked and the campsites come down and you are ready for a good rest. That is where we get out motivation to keep going.”