Teams were set up in festive tents in the middle of the makeshift walking track and along the walls of the event center. Jewelry, homemade ice cream, “Superhero Punch,” cotton candy, chicken stew, cupcakes, raffle tickets and T-shirts were being peddled throughout the night to add to teams’ fundraising coffers.
This year’s Relay drew 514 participants on 42 teams that raised at least $72,775. The preliminary total was a result of a year-long campaign that culminated with the all-night fundraiser.
Final numbers were not available Saturday, as teams will still be able to turn in donations and pledges after the event. The yellow-clad “T & C Stampede,” a rookie team from T & C Stamping Inc. in Athens, led all teams with more than $18,500 raised by 22 team members.
Leah Stephens, who co-owns T & C with her mother and brother, said the 75-employee company raffled away vacation time, sold cookbooks and sponsored a weekly $5 lunch from mid-January to early May, among other fundraisers.
“We did this for a special employee who has been diagnosed with lymphoma, and an employee who passed away from cancer,” said Stephens. “Cancer has touched a lot of people at our company, and the fundraising has been a total team effort.”
The American Cancer Society reported 3.5 million people participated in Relay for Life last year, with 35 local teams raising more than $71,000. The world’s largest nonprofit fundraiser has generated more than $3 billion since it officially started in 1986.
To view more Relay for Life photos, visit the SmugMug page by clicking on the Photo Gallery tab on the left side of the website.