FRANKLIN - The 2014 Pendleton County Relay For Life raised more than $44,882 for the American Cancer Society with more contributions still expected, team recruitment chair Don Harris said this week.
"Since our first RFL event in 1998, our county has stood up, pulled together as a community, and raised more than $925,000 to fight cancer," Harris said.
Donations can still be made by accessing www.relayforlife.org\pendletonwv or by sending a check made out to the American Cancer Society, c/o Cary Hevener, 405 Old Sugar Grove Road, Brandywine, WV 26902, Harris added.
Due to the heat, the event was held inside and outside Pendleton County High School Saturday. At dusk more than 700 luminaria were set up outside on the Leo Slusher Football Field by volunteers.
The word "HOPE" was spelled out by the candlelit bags set up on the bleachers overlooking the luminaria-lined football field. The candle bags were changed to form the word "CURE" as "Amazing Grace" was performed by Mahala Alt and Philip Mullenaux.
During the Relay more than 40 survivors were introduced and took a lap walking around the football field. Family and caregivers walked a second lap then joined the survivors for a reception sponsored by the Women of the Moose.
The Relay's planning committee included Freda Calhoun, event chairman; Harris; Holly Beachler, corporate sponsorship; Michael Smith and Richard Mahoney, luminaria; Carol Morgan and Regina Hedrick, survivorship; Cathy Slusher and family, silent auction; Linda Calhoun and Peggy Pitsenbarger, entertainment; and Jordan Hevener, registration. Account chairperson Cary Hevener, aided by Nancy Mallow and helpers Anna Mauzy, Sharon Harr, Sue Harper and Daniel Davis, handled finance.
Teams and team captains included "PCB's Banking on a Cure" led by Holly Beachler; "Eradicators," Macie Clements; "Heart and Soles," Mary Bowers; "Jingle Bells," Ellen Mitchell and Cary Hevener; "Strike Out Cancer Gang," Pat Sites; "Team Tweetie," Kim Kline; "Uncle Sam's Scouts," Freda Calhoun; "Pendleton Rehabinators," Inez Bogan; "Mountaineers: Climbing for a Cure," Maria Pomales and Autumn Smith; "Baking and Grilling for a Cure," Fern Kline; and "PCC Caregivers," Krista Owens.
Macie Clements of team "Eradicator" was named the highest single fundraiser with $5,573 followed by Ellen Mitchell, "Jingle Bells," with $2,673.07. Peggy Pitsenbarger, "Uncle Sam's Scouts," was in third place with $2,127.
The "Eradicators" raised the most team money with $8,281.50, followed by "Jingle Bells" with $7,156.40 and "Uncle Sam's Scouts" with $7,058.89.
Locally, donations are used to fund "I Can Cope," an educational series on living with cancer; "Reach to Recovery," aid to women recovering from breast cancer; "Man to Man," a support group for men with prostate cancer; "Road to Recovery," transportation for ambulatory patients to cancer treatments; "Look Good...Feel Better," a workshop with local cosmetologists to help enhance appearance; and "Wigs and Prosthetics," available free of charge to cancer patients requesting them.
"Donations also helped local residents with fuel assistance, lodging and anti-nausea medication," Harris emphasized. "Locals only need to call 1-800-227-2345, 1-304-249-5089 or go to WWW.cancer.org to get assistance."
Following opening remarks by Freda Calhoun Saturday, Kathy Slusher sang the National Anthem while "Colors" were paraded by the NOIC Sugar Grove Color Guard. The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Autumn Smith, a local cancer survivor. Rev. Stanley Kile delivered the invocation, followed by guest speaker Don Harris.
Entertainment was provided by DJ J.R. Murray, Lori Bodkin, Dan Hansen and Neva Davis.
Other activities included a silent auction, a water balloon contest, an egg toss, a scavenger hunt and a greased watermelon contest.
Pendleton County is one of 6,000 communities in 20 countries that has taken up the fight against cancer.
"We gathered together in this relay to celebrate, remember and fight back. We won't stop doing this. This is our 16th year, and, as the Cancer Society says, 'we won't stop until there is a cure!'" Harris said.