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Relay for Life expects to top goal of $40,000

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$37,000 already collected, more donations expected

By Calen McKinney

They met their goal. Not only did more people participate, they also raised more money to help fight cancer.

Taylor County’s annual Relay for Life events were Friday and Saturday at Taylor County High School’s track.

Jamaal Stiles, chair of this year’s events, said the goal was to raise $40,000. As of last weekend, about $37,000 had been collected with more donations expected.

Last year, he said, about $32,500 was raised.

“We’re so happy,” Stiles said.

Stiles said he is confident that this year’s total will top out above the $40,000 mark.

Money raised is given to the American Cancer Society to help pay for research, travel expenses and lodging for cancer patients.

Stiles said this year’s Relay for Life effort was a rebuilding effort. And he said several people have already expressed interest in participating in teams and helping to plan next year’s Relay events.

Stiles said this year’s events went well and there were no major problems. He said people seemed to like that opening ceremonies were pushed back an hour to help beat the heat. The Grandview Nursing and Rehabilitation

Facility received the Relay for Life ambassador award for hosting Relay planning meetings and going above and beyond their call of duty, Stiles said.

Living Grace Church received the best campsite award, which was voted on by Relay participants.

In all, Stiles said, 21 teams signed up to participate. He estimates that less than 15 actually participated. Stiles said a wrap up meeting about this year’s Relay events has been scheduled for Thursday, July 19, at 6 p.m. The location hasn’t yet been finalized but will be publicized when available. Stiles said planning for next year’s Relay events has already gotten under way.

He said those at the wrap-up meeting, which is open to the public, will discuss how to improve Relay.

The unofficial kickoff for next year’s events will be in October or November, with the official events getting started in January. Stiles said a chair for next year’s events will likely be named soon. Anyone can volunteer for the post, he said, or serve on the committee put together to plan the events.

“It’s a great way to be involved in the community,” he said.

Stiles said Relay’s fiscal year ends in August, so there is still time for those wanting to donate to the cause.

Donations can be taken to Taylor County Bank. He said he believes the effort to rebuild the local Relay for Life effort was successful.