Relay for Life raises $80,000
BERRYVILLE -- More than $80,000 was raised for the American Cancer Society at this year's Relay for Life event, held at the Berryville High School Track last Saturday.
Although the dollar mark did not match last year's take, it came close, which pleased event coordinator Teresa Hamilton.
"We were a little down from last year," she said. "We wanted to match it, but with the economy the way it is, we were pleased with the results."
Hamilton said she was also happy with attendance figures, adding there were new teams and more teams, a good turnout from the general public, and greater survivor participation.
"I was very pleased with the turnout," she said. "Plus, we had pretty weather. We lucked out having storm clouds that kept things cooler part of the day, and only a few sprinkles."
Hamilton said family participation was big this year and sales of $5 all-day arm bands for the games were a hit.
"We sold a lot of wrist bands," she laughed. "Some kids played games until they nearly dropped. It was $5 well spent!"
Several awards were distributed during the 12-hour event, which was held from 10 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Long-time volunteer Betty Wood was presented a "Heart of Relay" plaque for her many years of service and team Brighton Ridge earned the "Best Design" award for its cake decorating prowess.
Other teams included: Amazing Grace; Carroll County Health Unit; Carroll Electric; Cornerstone Bank; Eureka Springs Rotary; Eureka Springs School; Grandview Baptist; Kerusso; LaBarge; Louise Butler PINK Team; Team Powerful Medicine; Tyson Foods; Walmart; and Arvest Bank.
Hamilton said plans for next year's event will be discussed at their next relay meeting, set for 6 p.m. Thursday, July 22, at the Berryville Fire Station.
Hamilton said she is willing to serve as event coordinator again and has already been making a list of "how to do things better."
"It was a learning experience for me," she said. "Overall, it was very good. I thought the Berryville location was central, easy to find, and boosted our attendance.
"I like constancy," she commented, "constancy with location and time."
Hamilton said details surrounding next year's event are yet to be decided, and although she has her opinions, there are others to be considered.
"If anyone has an opinion of how it should be, come to the meeting," she urged. "I was pleased we had so many families playing games together, and the survivors and their families. I'm all for keeping it a family event and putting the focus on getting more people involved."
Hamilton said she is happy to serve as a volunteer organizer, saying she has a personal stake.
"My sister and father are both three-time cancer survivors," she said. "With them on the West Coast I felt helpless. This is what I do. It's my way of supporting them and fighting back."
Relay for Life is the largest not-for-profit fundraising event in the world. It "celebrates" the lives of those who had cancer, "remembers" those lost, and raises money to fight back against a disease that takes too much.