OHIO VALLEY — June means many things to residents of the Ohio Valley — students are out of school for the summer, wedding bells ring for many couples and hundreds of area residents focus their combined efforts to raise funds in the fight against cancer. The Relay for Life events for Meigs and Gallia counties were held last weekend with mostly beautiful weather and tremendous participation.
Cancer survivors, those with family or friends touched by cancer, and others who are helping in the fight came together over the weekend, some in Meigs and some in Gallia, for two of the largest annual local fundraising events for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The Meigs County event was held in the Thompson Roush Building at the Meigs County Fairgrounds, while the Gallia County event was held at the Gallipolis City Park.
According to Bonnie McFarland, chairperson of the annual Gallia County event and director of Community Health and Wellness at Holzer Health System, this year’s Relay had one of the best turnouts in the event’s history … and that meant people were supporting the event financially, as well.
McFarland said that by the end of the event, Gallia County’s total was $91,702, including corporate sponsorships and donations. She emphasized that although Relay for Life comes together each year as a two-day event in June, Relay teams work to raise funds all year long.
Top fundraising teams earning awards included, first place, Bennie’s Buddies, $9,373, and second place, Curves, $8,645.
There were approximately 20 teams walking on site, and many non-walking groups, including several area churches, raised money through other means like the “E-lemon-ate” lemonade stand, haircuts in the city park and face painting.
“Money is still coming in, and we continue to accept donations until August 31 when the ACS closes its books,” added McFarland.
McFarland said nearly 800 luminaries were purchased and displayed at the event.
According to Courtney Midkiff, Meigs County Relay for Life chairperson, more than $26,000 was raised through the fundraising activities and events to be donated to the ACS.
Themed “Over The Rainbow,” this year’s Meigs County Relay for Life honored and remembered those with all forms of cancer. Those in attendance were asked to wear colors based on the type cancer that had affected their lives.
Six teams participated in Meigs County Relay for Life through various efforts. Five of the six teams were present during the 18-hour event. Those teams in attendance were Keith’s-Get-R-Done, Star Grangers, Rocksprings Rehab “Blessed,” Meigs High School Student Council and Angels Fighting Cancer (Tuppers Plains Farmers Bank).
Relay For Life is the signature event for The ACS, and it is a community-based event that serves to raise funds and awareness in the fight against cancer.
Relay For Life involves teams of walkers/runners and other participants from all across the community and has something for everyone who has been touched by cancer.
At nightfall, luminaries glowed in honor of those who live to fight another day and remember those loved and lost. The votive candles nestled in sandbags that light the track, are a glowing tribute to those who have had cancer and light the path of hope for all. Proceeds from the luminary sales will benefit the American Cancer Society, which is dedicated to cancer research, service, education and advocacy.