Student team is top fundraiser at Relay

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$39,000 raised for fight against cancer

By Linda Ireland

LaRue volunteers raised $39,000 for the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life over the weekend. Organizers expect that amount to grow as teams continue to hold fundraisers and turn in dollars.

The event appeared to be in jeopardy Friday afternoon as a rainstorm crept into the area about an hour before opening ceremony. The skies cleared, allowing the 16 teams to set up tents for the evening.

The Relay, the ACS signature event, features volunteers walking or running around a track for several hours to raise awareness of cancer research. LaRue’s Relay was held at Hodgenville Elementary School.

Jackie Summitt, one of the event’s organizers, called the 18 hours of the Relay, now in its 25th year, “an amazing journey.”

She described how the first Relay raised $27,000 through the efforts of one volunteer. Now, millions of people throughout the world are involved.

Jimmy Rogers, a four-year survivor of prostate cancer, spoke to the crowd during the opening ceremony. He commended caretakers of cancer patients.

“They have to be brave when they were scared to death,” he said.

To those battling the disease, he said, “Don’t give up – don’t give cancer one little inch of your life.”

The HES team “Hawks for Hope” raised the greatest amount – $6,701.83, according to Relay representative Bill Hawkins. The students used a variety of fundraisers to earn money for the cancer research project including candy grams, peeler cards, T-shirt sales and “Miss-ter Relay” contest featuring male contestants.

Buffalo Baptist Church raised $6,173, followed by First Baptist Hodgenville with $4,223.50 and Midnight Flockers with $4,088.74.

“Any money raised through Aug. 31 can be added to the team’s total,” said Hawkins. “Our new year starts Sept. 1.”

The Hodgenville United Methodist Church “Bee-lievers” team is selling “Fight Like A Girl” T-shirts to raise money, Hawkins said. The brown tees have pink lettering symbolic of the fight against breast cancer.

Hawkins said he has been involved with the Relay several years – but this is the first year he has worked so closely with all of the teams.

“I’m really impressed by the commitment level I’ve seen,” said Hawkins. “I have a heartfelt thank you to teams, survivors, anyone who participated.”