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Relay for Life kicks off campaign Tuesday

 

Garthia Elena Burnett

 

Organizers are hoping for sunshine and blue skies as they plan for this year''s Relay for Life. Last year''s Columbus event was called off early due to rain. 

 

Seventy-nine teams signed up to participate in Relay for Life fundraising efforts in 2010. And 57 teams set up shop at Magnolia Bowl on Fifth Street North, only to take up their tents and supplies. 

 

Still the Lowndes County Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society, was able to meet its goal of $140,000, about $113,000 of which already was turned in by the day of the relay event. 

 

This year''s Relay for Life is scheduled for April 29, from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., at its traditional location, the Magnolia Bowl. Plans already are in full swing for the event, and organizers are reaching out for participants. 

 

Tuesday, past participants, potential participants and cancer survivors are invited to the 2010 Relay for Life kickoff at Baptist Memorial Hospital-Golden Triangle''s outpatient pavilion, for the first official sign-up day for Lowndes County Relay for Life 2011. 

 

"We invite past teams, new people that we know are possibly candidates. We invite survivors and sponsors from years past," said Mott Ellis, Relay for Life team development chair for Lowndes County. 

 

Relay For Life began in 1985 in Tacoma, Wash., as the City of Destiny Classic 24-Hour Run Against Cancer, according to cancer.org, the ACS website. Gordy Klatt, a Tacoma colorectal surgeon, circled the track at Baker Stadium at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, for 24 hours for a total of more than 83 miles. Throughout the night, friends paid $25 to run or walk 30 minutes with him. He raised $27,000 to fight cancer.  

 

Locally, on relay day, walkers or runners can depend on team members, to circle the track in shifts, for the 12-hour duration of the event. During relay hours, teams also can host a fundraiser, selling refreshments, raffle tickets or other items, as a final push toward the campaign goal, set this year at $150,000. 

 

And organizers are looking for new teams, as well as volunteers to offer entertainment for the relay, which routinely boasts live music, inflatable jumpers for children and other family-friendly events. 

 

"Without teams we wouldn''t have a relay," Ellis said, adding, as far as ways to raise money, "The sky''s the limit." 

 

From bake sales and chances to win a ride in a race car to ladies'' nights out and rummage sales, past teams have found ways to pout their own creative touches on raising money for cancer research and treatment.  

 

Ellis is looking forward to another successful campaign, "and hopefully, we''ll have better weather this year." 

 

For more information, contact Ellis at 662-574-1104 or mwellis1@cableone.net.

 

 

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