For the fourth consecutive year, Scotland County’s Relay for Life is the top event of its kind in the country.
That feat was announced during Scotland County’s Relay for Life “State Fair” themed kick off Monday at the Dulin Center.
For the 2010 year, the last year counted for rankings purposes, the Scotland County Relay for Life raised $282,000, putting them at the top of the heap for relays in towns with 30, 000 to 40,000 residents.
While that accomplishment is impressive, Scotland County Relay co-chair Stewart Thomas said that he is more impressed by the community’s growing support for the event.
“The thing that impresses me more than our fundraising is the local commitment,” said Thomas.
“Every year we continue to grow, and we’ve already seen huge growth at just our first meeting this year,” added Thomas, referencing the eight new fundraising teams in attendance Monday.
“We had a lot of success (fundraising) in 2010 … and we’re going to try to do the best we can again this year,” said Thomas, who has chaired the organization since its inception in 1997 along with his wife, Carol.
Scotland County Relay for Life also succeeded in having the largest number of cancer survivors at their 2010 event, earning further recognition.
As for the future, Thomas said that the Scotland County Relay will continue to work towards its goals.
“When we look at what we’re doing, we want to continue to celebrate cancer survivorship, educate the community, heighten awareness, achieve more exposure for cancer issues and raise money for research,” said Thomas.
The State Fair theme, which will apply the organization’s fundraising efforts, was first proposed by Relay’s Pauline Gruver several years ago.
“Now we are finally using it,” said Gruver.
Gruver expects the different fundraising groups, represented by more than 60 attendees during the kickoff celebration, to take the new theme “in a lot of different directions.”
She also chose the theme because of what it says about the difficult nature of the struggle against cancer.
“We all know cancer isn’t fair,” she said.
During Monday’s kickoff attendees, at the request of co-chair Carol Thomas, broke into groups to brainstorm about fundraising ideas as well as to discuss what certain famous quotes mean to the fight against cancer.
When they reconvened they all shared their ideas, and some groups announced fundraising efforts that they already have underway, ranging from t-shirt sales to car washes.
The celebration started with a presentation from Mary Callahan-Lopez, social worker for the Scotland Cancer Treatment Center on the dangers of smoking.
“Smoking is not only related to lung cancer, it’s actually related to a whole lot more than that” said Callahan-Lopez.
Also during the meeting, Meritor presented a $1,000 check to the American Cancer Society earned by the Relay for Life fundraisers from that company.