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HILLSVILLE — When participants in the Carroll-Galax Relay for Life circled the track at Tommy Thompson Field at Carroll County High School on Friday and Saturday, they raised $1,000 an hour to add to the money that will go toward cancer research and programs, organizers said.
Robin Minter, the community manager for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life, said the $12,000 raised in the 12-hour relay put the event close to its overall goal of $85,000.
In all, the 30 teams — made up of 600 people — brought in $81,000 to help in the fight against cancer, Minter said. She estimated the number of people at Relay for Life as close to 1,500.
“I think this was the best event we ever had,” Minter said.
After months of community activities and fundraisers by the teams, organizers threw a Survivors’ Banquet last Thursday at the Grover King Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1115.
Food donated by Shoney’s and the Hardware Co. of Hillsville served 133 of those from the area who won their battle against cancer. Each survivor brought a caregiver, and the total of people served was about 275, Minter said.
An hour-long ceremony Friday at the high school kicked off the relay with a survivors’ lap, balloon release and testimony by Janet Richardson about the importance of women getting screened for breast cancer regularly.
In a lighter moment, members of Skyview Baptist Church symbolically portrayed the combatants in the treatment of cancer in a boxing ring.
While “Cancer,” wearing all black, put up a fight, it couldn’t win against the combined pugilistic efforts of “Radiation” and “Chemotherapy.”
Organizers recognized the efforts of caregivers with a lap, and each team launched its first trip around the track with members carrying a banner as spectators applauded.
Organizers also brought the widespread nature of the fight against cancer home by planting 163 little flags on the hillside, Minter said. Those flags represented the number of people from Galax and Carroll County who were diagnosed with cancer from January through May of this year.
This year’s theme for Relay for Life is “celebrate, remember and fight back,” Minter said, and she’s proud of everyone who got involved.
Top individual fundraiser this year was Liz Ingersoll. The teams from Skyview Baptist Church and the Gladesboro community tied for top teams.
One of the measures of success for Minter was the $4,000 raised just in quarters by school children.
“The best thing is that they’re helping cancer patients and their families through a very difficult time,” Minter said of the participants.