Relay For Life campaign at $130K and rising

Awards handed out at wrap-up Saturday 

By FAITH HUFFMAN | News-Telegram News Editor

May 20, 2007 - While the walk has concluded, the race to a cure is still on, with money still trickling in to benefit the American Cancer Society via the Hopkins County Relay For Life campaign, which doesn't end until Aug. 31.

Staff Photo by Angela Pitts

Hopkins County Relay For Life team representatives accepted trophies Saturday morning during the RFL Wrap Up-Rally held on the downtown square. Shown left to right are: (front) Lynda Hager, Guaranty Bond Bank; Cassandra Self, R.C. Retaining Wall; Michelle Gasaway, Askew family; Freddie Wade, Cherry Grove Baptist Church; Pat Morgan, Jeld-Wen; Johnna West, Saltillo; Dan McKinney, North Hopkins; (back) Dayton Gifford, Cumby Science Club; Michelle Davila, Sulphur Bluff High School; Kendall Smith, First United Methodist Church (Youth); Jennifer Philo, First United Methodist Church (Adult); Katharine Abild, TXU Mining Thermo; and Cheryl Blount and Shelley Burton, Early Childhood Learning Center.

So far, HCRFL has raised $130,229 of the $146,000 campaign goal for cancer research for a cure, and several other pledges have yet to come in. The 45 teams alone raise $91,071, while luminary sales brought in another $5,433 and the Purple Pail Campaign netted about $300. Contributions from corporate underwriters and other sources account for the rest.

"We'd like to thank the teams for the hard work and all that they did as well as those that sponsored yall," Relay committee co-chair Tony Aguilar said to the people in attendance Saturday morning at the HCRFL 2007 Wrap Up on the square.

Team awards were handed out during the Relay wrap-up, with the Fort Knox Cup awarded to the team raising the most money again going to three-time winner First United Methodist Church. The FUMC team also took home a special Candles of Hope award for luminary sales.

The Spirit Cup went to the Askew family, the first-place Torch Cup to Jeld-Wen and the Candles of Life Cup for most laps went to TXU Mining in Thermo. R.C. Retaining Wall earned the Winners Cup for most raffles sold, the second place Fort Knox Cup for most money raised, and the third place Torch Cup.

The Early Childhood Learning Center team went home with Campsite Cup for best campsite, as well as the third place Fort Knox Cup.

The second place campsite trophy was awarded to Guaranty Bond Bank and the third place campsite went to Sulphur Springs Health & Rehab. The second place Torch Cup went to Cherry Grove Baptist Church.

In the youth team division, Como-Pickton National Honor Society earned the first place Fort Knox Cup for money raised, as well as the Campsite Cup.

Two awards were also given for batons. First United Methodist Church Youth was awarded first and Miller Grove Independent School District second place.

Saltillo FCCLA received the second place Fort Knox Cup. North Hopkins BETA Club earned the Candles of Hope Cup for luminaries. Cumby Science Club went home with the Spirit Cup and Sulphur Bluff High School the Candles of Life Cup for most laps.

The goal of the relay each year is not only to remember those who have died as a result of cancer, but to celebrate those who are battling or have successfully battled cancer, as well as to raise as much money as possible for ACS for cancer research and local programs benefiting cancer patients and their families.

"Thank you so much for all your hard work," Mynder Kelly said. "That is fantastic. We'd just like to thank the survivors, teams, chairs and everyone that contributed for their hard work.”

Kelly also said 254 survivors participated in this year’s Relay. 

�Without the survivors, we wouldn't have a relay,� she said. �We just thank everyone for their effort. The results really pay off in a large way.�

In closing, Kelly asked those present at the wrap-up to join hands, close their eyes and think of the reason they participate in RFL. Whether it be because they were talked into it by a family member, their company expects it, they're doing it for a family member or someone in their circle of friends who is experiencing cancer, or in honor of someone who has lost their life to cancer, Kelly noted that those involved are part of a mission to the ultimate goal.

�We do this for those who are suffering and those we've lost,� she said. �The goal of Relay is to one day hold a relay of celebration of the cure."

She also noted that while the bulk of the work for HCRFL 2007 has drawn to a close, the job of ensuring next year's Relay For Life is a success is only just beginning. She encouraged all of this year's teams to firm up their line for next year, urged older teams to reconnect to get involved in HCRFL 2008, and encouraged underwriters and individuals interested in contributing or joining the relay committee to "start now so we can make next year even better."

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