06/25/10 — Relay revisited: $567,197

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Relay revisited: $567,197

By Catharin Shepard
Published in News on June 25, 2010 1:46 PM

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Kim Goff, captain of the Wayne Memorial Hospital Relay for Life team, smiles during the Wayne County Relay for Life awards dinner. Wayne Memorial raised the most money, $40,243.53.

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Carol J. Mitchell, in her fourth year of battling ovarian cancer, accepts the award for Most Money Raised by a Church for the Pine Forest United Methodist Church team from Dr. Lee Adams.

More than 1,800 Wayne County Relay for Life participants joined the fight against cancer this year and raised $567,197 for the American Cancer Society.

The county Relay committee announced the grand total and the top fundraising teams Thursday at the annual awards banquet at Wayne Memorial Hospital.

This year was one of the biggest Relays yet as 120 teams, including 35 new teams, joined the effort, and 465 cancer survivors turned out in purple shirts to celebrate their victory over the disease.

"We had a tremendous Relay. We really surpassed so many goals," said Christine Yancey, American Cancer Society community income manager. "We are way ahead of the rest of the state."

Relay went very smoothly this year, with so many volunteers jumping in to help, co-chairman Dr. Lee Adams said.

"If you went out at Relay at 12, everything was all in order, everybody had jobs," he said.

Wayne Memorial Hospital was the top fundraiser, gathering more than $40,200, while the Handy Mart Pope team came in second with $26,568.

Cancer survivor Carol J. Mitchell accepted the awards for her team, Pine Forest United Methodist Church, which collected $25,000, the third-most money overall. Pine Forest UMC was also the top fundraising church group for the fourth year in a row.

"To me, it's about getting the word out for screening, for prevention and most importantly, for a cure," Mrs. Mitchell said.

The team captain has been battling ovarian cancer for four of the eight years she has been involved with Relay. She has been in remission twice, and continued working on Relay even while taking treatments almost continuously for the last several years, even though it hasn't been easy.

"It seemed like I would be sick the time I would be needed the most," she said.

Her husband, C.B. Mitchell, stepped in as well and helped raise thousands in funding, she said.

Grantham School earned the most money out of all the school teams, while the 335th FS Chiefs team claimed the top fundraising spot in the military division. The M&M Cancer Survivors team raised the most money of all the teams in the miscellaneous category. The top fundraising "rookie" team was Big Daddy's Place, a team formed in memory of local radio personality Jerry Wayne, who passed away from cancer in 2009. Big Daddy's Place raised $12,380.

Meadow Lane Elementary School, New Hope Methodist Church, Wayne Memorial Hospital and Big Daddy's Place received awards for having the top campsite for each category, and Garris Chapel received the overall campsite recognition.

Each of the teams received a special recognition in honor of their dedication to Relay. The committee also recognized the teams whose members raised a certain amount of money.

Excelling For A Cure, Garris Chapel Church, Brenda's Bosom Buddies and the Zion Marchers were honored with the Purple All-Stars for earning at least $2,000 on average per team member. The First Free Will Baptist Church, St. Luke United Methodist Church, Team Piedmont and Terrel's Tornadoes were named to the National All-Stars list after raising an average of $3,333 per team member. The committee honored dozens of bronze, silver, gold and platinum All-Star teams.

The Relay committee also presented a "steps of love" plaque for Tim Lamb, who made a special journey on foot from Duke University Hospital to the Wayne County Relay in memory of his late wife, Beth.

The co-chairmen thanked the many local businesses and individuals who donated their time, equipment and efforts to making Relay successful. Locally owned restaurant Zaxby's donated food for the awards banquet.

Honorary adult chair Jim King wouldn't have missed the banquet for anything -- not even when he knew he would have to go into the same hospital for a medical procedure to fight his cancer afterward.

"They're going to do a little something to me some time tomorrow," he told the crowd, who welcomed him to the podium with a standing ovation.

His own battle continues, and so will Relay, King said.

"Let's go through Relay every year," he said.