The battle against cancer gained a lot of local momentum on June 3 and 4 when 800 people participated in the 16th annual Relay For Life of Howard County at Hammond High School. The overnight event to celebrated cancer survivorship raised funds for the American Cancer Society.
This year’s Relay raised more than $190,000. Funds will be used for cancer research, prevention, detection and treatment, and patient services.
“I was overwhelmed to see the outpouring of support from our various donors and the dedication displayed by our 71 teams this year,” said Co-Chair Jenn Phillips. “This event is special in that it affords survivors and those who have lost loved ones to cancer an opportunity to come together and remember; at the same time, it affords them the opportunity to celebrate the victories that we experience each year.”
One hundred thirty-one cancer survivors, along with their guests, participated in the free Survivors’ Reception that immediately preceded the Relay. After the opening ceremonies, survivors took the first lap around the track, applauded by families and friends.
At dusk, the 950 luminaria that lined the track were set aglow, as were luminaria on the nearby bleachers that spelled out “Hope” and “Cure.” This year, a very large, white cardboard luminaria was placed in the middle of the field during the ceremony to remember Sheri Cohen, a longtime member of the local planning committee who died from leukemia on Jan. 17.
Teams (formed by organizations such as churches, service clubs, schools and businesses) held numerous fundraisers during the year and at the Relay. As of June 4, the Wells Fargo team had raised the most money, $10,930. The second- and third-place teams were hot on Wells Fargo’s heels: They were Apex, with $10,845; and Athletic Supporters with $10,780.
Top individual fundraisers as of June 4 were Sheri Cohen ($5,135), Mike Stanson ($3,685) and Vivek Mehta ($3,132). Thirty-three of the 664 team members raised $1,000 or more.
Many businesses also supported the Relay by becoming corporate sponsors; Wells Fargo was at the top of the list for contributing $20,000.
People can continue to donate to this year’s Relay through Aug. 31 by sending a check made out to the American Cancer Society–Relay for Life of Howard County at Hammond High School to ACS’s South Atlantic Division, which is located at 1393 Progress Way, Suite 908, Eldersburg, MD 21784.
Those interested in forming a team or becoming a member of the planning committee for the 2012 Relay can call 410-781-4316.