UNION COUNTY — The people of Union County have now contributed nearly $1.8 million to the fight against cancer with more donations on the way.
The first Union County Relay For Life was held in 1996 and since then the annual event has raised an average of $100,000 for a total of $1.7 million as of 2012. The organizers of the 2013 Relay For Life had hoped that this year’s effort would raise at least another $100,000 and bring the total contributed by the county to $1.8 million.
Like its predecessors, this year’s Relay For Life event was held at the Union County Fairgrounds where the 26 teams that have worked for months to meet both individual and collective fund raising goals came together Friday evening for the “celebration of life” that usually serves as the climax to their efforts. Relay For Life Co-Chair Torance Inman said that, also like its predecessors, this year’s effort was a success and will be even more successful in the days and weeks ahead as some teams continue and conclude their fund raising activities.
“As of 3 o’clock in the morning on Saturday, we had in hand $97,500,” Inman said Monday. “We also have several teams that have not turned in their money and others that have additional funds to turn in and additional events to take place. This will allow us to more than exceed our goal.”
Inman said the success Union County Relay For Life has enjoyed over the years has been due to the support of the people of Union County.
“Union people have always risen to the occasion,” Inman said. “We are known throughout the state and Relay For Life circles as the event that always does an outstanding job.”
Like its predecessors, the 2013 Relay For Life was an all-night event with the participating teams doing laps around the track all night. The event opened, however, with Survivors Reception honoring local cancer survivors who then took the first lap around the track. There was also a Remembrance Ceremony and Silent Lap honoring the memory of those who have died from cancer. Luminaries were placed around the track honoring those who are still fighting cancer and remembering those who fight no more.
Inman said the weather and the hard work of the teams and other Relay For Life supporters combined to make the evening a success.
“The event could not have been better,” Inman said. “The weather was great and everyone that had a role to in the ceremony and celebration activities did an outstanding job.”
Inman said the evening also saw some fund raising records set.
“One was by Team Leroy who raised over $15,000 as a first time team,” Inman said. “Not only were they the top money raiser, but they raised more money than any newcomer team had at any Union County event. Their closest competition was Dollar General who generated well over $10,000.”
Inman said the following teams won the following awards:
• Best Theme For A Newcomer — Youth Leadership Union County
• Best Banner For A Newcomer — Blue Ridge Hospice
• Best Campsite For a Newcomer — Team Leroy
• Most Money Raised By A Newcomer — Team Leroy
• Best Theme For A Veteran Team — Red Spot
• Best Banner For A Veteran Team — Jonesville K-8
• Best Campsite For a Veteran Team — Bogansville United Methodist
• Most Money Raised By a Veteran Team — Dollar General
Thirteen teams received the Spirit of Relay Award.
Cancer Prevention Study-3
In addition to raising money, this year’s Relay For Life gave the people of Union County the opportunity to contribute information to the fight against cancer.
The American Cancer Society is preparing to conduct Cancer Prevention Study-3, the latest in a series of generational studies the organization has conducted since the 1950s. The information gathered by the first study helped researchers establish the link between smoking and cancer. The second study, which began in the 1980s, continued the society’s research into smoking and cancer including secondhand smoke. It also began to gather information on the role of other lifestyle factors in the increased risk of cancer.
With Cancer Prevention Study-3, the society is seeking information on the link between waist size and the possible increased risk of several types of cancer including breast, colon and pancreatic cancers. Like it predecessors, Cancer Prevention Study-3 will collect health-related information from study participants over a 20-year period. The study will look at lifestyle factors including diet and exercise as well as environmental factors that may or may not increase the risk of developing cancer.
In Union County, the society was seeking at least 111 volunteers between the ages of 30 and 65 who have never been diagnosed with cancer to participate in the study. Inman said that the society got its volunteers and more and that Union County won bragging rights in a competition with Cherokee County.
“Our event was also selected for participation in Cancer Prevention Study-3 along with Cherokee County,” Inman said. “There was a challenge between the two to see who could enroll 100 volunteers first. Union not only enrolled 100 people first, but exceeded our study goal with a 115 percent enrollment. Their actual goal for us was 111 and we enrolled 126 people. We actually had to turn volunteers away. We were the first Relay in the country to exceed the Cancer Prevention Study-3 goal at a Relay event.
Editor Charles Warner can be reached at 864-427-1234, ext. 14, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.