Strong wind and the threat of rain didn't deter swashbuckling Relay For Life participants at Blankenship Field Friday and Saturday, who learned their efforts raised more than $170,000 in the fight against cancer.
The unofficial total was announced after the final lap Saturday at $172,073.15, with money from the silent auction, basket auction and underwriters still coming in. The final amount will be made public June 2 at First United Methodist Church's Garrett Hall, when the Howard/Glasscock ACS will have its community wrap up event.
This year's Relay took the theme “Make Cancer Walk the Plank” and many of the participants were in pirate costume. A number of activities were planned for youth and adults, and those — and the endless walking the track — kept participants going until after sunrise.
There were accolades all around Saturday morning. During the awards ceremony, Rocking Against Cancer received the Team Mileage Award for traveling from Weatherford, Okla., in order to participate in the relay. Three awards were given for the best campsites — Colorado River Municipal Water District placed first, Scenic Mountain Medical Center Cancer Crushers were second and Men in Black placed third
Three awards were also given for team T-shirts — TexStone Racers were first, Home Hospice took second and R.E.L.A.Y. For a Cure placed third.
“R.E.L.A.Y. stands for relatives expressing love and yearning for a cure,” said one if its team members.
Opening ceremonies for Relay were at 8 p.m. Friday and the annual event didn't conclude until 8 o'clock Saturday morning, which gave participants plenty of time to compete for the most laps walked. Two awards were given in that category with R.E.L.A.Y. For a Cure walking the most laps — 148 — and Glasscock 4-H right behind with 141 laps.
The Spirit Team Award went to Kids for Life and the Individual Spirit Award went to Jennifer Sayles.
“The Individual Spirit Award is going to someone who was there at the majority of the meetings and truly put in a lot of effort,” said Vicki Stewart, Relay co-chair.
When it came to counting the success of the fund-raiser, awards were given for the six teams that raised the most money. The teams were divided into two categories, small and large.
“We looked at the team members and we decided to make two categories and present two awards for most money raised small team and most money raised large team,” Stewart said.
CRMWD Soul Survivors took first place in the small team category by raising $5,366.44. Men in Black raised $2,735 and Warriors of Hope raised $2,010. The large team winner was TexStone, which generated $40,168.95. SMMC Cancer Crushers raised $20,319 and Reba's Bosom Buddies raised $6,030 for third place.
“It's the teams that truly make the difference,” Stewart said.