Relay for Life nearly reaches $100,000
Adams County Relay for Life chairman Jeanne Adkinson had great news and greater news in the announcement of this year's fund-raising total at the close of the Relay's two-day event at the Adams Central track on Sunday morning.
This year's goal was exceeded; in fact it wasn't only exceeded, it was smashed. To date, those involved in this year's fund-raiser had raised $97,600, almost $15,000 more than the goal of $83,000.
But that's only the great news. The better news is that there is one major event and two months left to improve the effort even more.
On Aug. 25, an annual kickball tournament will be held at Hanna-Nutman Park in Decatur, with all proceeds going to the cancer total. Adkinson said that so far there are 32 teams involved with this year's event. In addition, foods and other fund-raising goodies will be sold throughout the day that will boost the goal.
"I'm excited about the possibility of us going well over $100,000 before this thing is over," said Adkinson following the announcement. "I don't know what to say; I am overwhelmed. Everyone has worked so hard to make this happen. There are so many people in this county that made this happen."
A total of 46 teams and many area businesses had already built a base of over $70,000 going into the two-day relay event. Then, home grown food vendors, luminary donations and various other fund-raisers generated in excess of $24,000 on site.
"I knew that we were over $80,000 this morning (Sunday)," said Adkinson. "I didn't expect to reach $97,000.
"This is so mixed," continued Adkinson. "It tells us that there are too many people affected by cancer. So many are affected that they really dug in to raise this money. I don't know of anyone who doesn't know someone that has cancer."
Adkinson said that when she heard the amount, she was so stunned that all she could do was emotionally respond by saying, "this is unreal."
The director noted that donations could still be received until Aug. 31 before being turned in as part of this year's campaign.
Mindy Hartwick, Northeast Indiana Relay director for the American Cancer Society broke into tears as she responded to the Adams County effort.
"I'm so very happy to do what I do," said Hartwick. "I work with volunteers like you all over. This is more than a job; it is very personal to me.
"I told the people in the office that Adams County is top notch in the northeast Indiana area," continued Hartwick. "Year after year, you always go above and beyond. You believe in the mission, you believe in the walk for cancer, you believe in a cure for cancer. Thank you so much; we appreciate all of your work so much.
"We are aware that this is not just one day out of the hard lives you are living," added Hartwick. "We know that and our hearts go out to you."
Forty-six teams participated in this year's event. Of those, two singly raised over $10,000 a piece, Angels of Hope and Thrivent.
Hundreds of people attended the event, which began at noon on Saturday, but it wasn't just people from Adams County who came to throw in their support.
Tina Snodgrass and Bill Bain came from Wells County to honor Adams County family members who suffer from cancer. Snodgrass, who is originally from Wathena, Kansas, lost her mother, Darlene Devault, to cancer several years ago. In addition, her sister, Brenda Burgess, has also suffered from the dreaded disease.
Snodgrass came with Bain whose sister, Frida Springer of Decatur, has suffered with colon cancer and has had a spot in her back. Bain said that his sister has been undergoing radiation treatments.
"I came to support all of these people I can't financially support," said Snodgrass. "I wanted to give them emotional support and a hand to lean on. I know how bad it was when mom went through it."
Area pastors shared their sentiments in words of prayer and support.
At the 6 p.m. designated opening ceremony, Rev. James Compton prayed,
"Watch over and help those who continue battling this disease. Be with caregivers, strengthen them and give them courage. Give them love and strength."
Later, prior to the luminary service, Rev. Jay Carter's stated prayer noted, "We are common people with a common cause, the fight against cancer. It affects every person here in one way or another. Be with those who continue to struggle with cancer. Sustain each person who is receiving treatment. Be with caregivers and hospice workers; be with them as they give love and care to those they surround. We thank you for the greater common denominator in the faith that we share in Jesus Christ."
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