GALLIPOLIS — There is no finish line until we find a cure.
This sentiment was shared among a large and enthusiastic crowd attending the 2012 Gallia County Relay for Life kick-off luncheon and presentation of 2011 awards held Tuesday at Holzer Medical Center. Relay for Life is a national fundraising effort established to fight cancer, support cancer survivors and remember those who have succumbed to the disease. Although the meeting carried a certain heaviness reflecting the widespread impact of cancer throughout the community, the overall conviction of those in attendance was one of hope — and determination.
“If there is ever a question that Gallia County is passionate about the fight against cancer, just listen to what was accomplished last year,” said 2012 Gallia County Relay for Life Committee member and Ohio Valley Bank representative Kyla Carpenter.
According to Carpenter, nearly $5,000 was raised last year from the sale of luminaries; over $6,000 was raised from the sale of daffodils; over $3,300 was raised on site during the 2011 two-day event; area businesses contributed more than $11,000; and the teams alone raised more than $64,000.
Carpenter said that several groups across the region held one-time fundraising events that also contributed to the fight in 2011 by netting more than $8,200.
“That gives us a total in 2011 of well over $85,000 that was raised for the fight against cancer,” Carpenter added. “This is our eighteenth year for the relay, and our life total so far is $804,799 right here in Gallia County.”
Awards were presented to a number of teams, community members and sponsors in recognition of their past support including the naming of the top 2011 fundraising team, Holzer Clinic’s Bennie’s Buddies, and the Relay Hero Award, which was presented to John Burris. The Honorary Cancer Survivor Award was accepted by Gladys Grant on behalf of her husband Charles ‘Foxy’ Grant.
Before the event concluded, Ken Moore, Director of the Holzer Center for Cancer Care, presented a check for $7,000 to McFarland on behalf of the newly consolidated Holzer Health System.
“All of us are affected by cancer. It is hard sometimes to think about the people that we have taken care of, that we have loved,” said Bonnie McFarland, Director of Community Health and Wellness with Holzer Health System, in her remarks. “But boy, when we get to those that we are celebrating that they are here, there is no greater joy than that.”