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Annual Relay for Life aims to help stop cancer

By Staff | Jul 1, 2016

Jefferson County’s Relay for Life called, “All Aboard” to more than 35 teams who raised funds for the fight against cancer.

Held at Jefferson High School’s track, the annual event ran from 1 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. With members of those teams walking laps around the track.

The event kicked off with a survivor luncheon at noon in the school’s cafeteria then the survivors walked the first lap.

Just prior to that first lap, honorary chair Donna Harrison, shared her story of discovering a limp, in her breast just after the 2013 Relay.

“That day changed my life,” she said, as she went on to talk about her treatment and her way of dealing with the cancer.

She challeneged everyone at the Relay, “Don’t take today for granted. Your life can change just like that,” she said as she snapped her fingers.

Event chair Chanti Davenport proudly reported that there was 100 percent participation from Jefferson County Schools. She said it was the first year all of the schools have participated,

Davenport praised all of the Relay participants and all of the volunteers,

“We do this for these survivors,” she said as she pointed to all those wearing the designated purple shirts. “We do it so we can have more of them.”

Teresa Tomblin, member of the “Strolling for Survivors” team said that previously she and others on her team had been part of the T.A. Lowery team, but they had enough to form their own team this year. Tomblin’s mother, Eva Palmer, served as the 2015 honorary chair.

“Our goal was $500,” Tomblin said. “But by this morning we have raised almost $1,200” she said.

Their team was not alone in those exceeding their goals. The “Redneck Believers” were participating for the first time and had exceeded their goal of $1,000 by nearly $300 at start time. Pam Conner, captain of the team, shared she lost her father to cancer just 11 weeks ago.

“We just asked our friends and family,” Conner said.

Davenport said that the challenge levels for teams ran from $500 to “Take a ride on the bus” all the way to “Take a ride on the rocket” for teams earning $10,000 or more.

As of start time of the Relay, the Hearts of Hope team had raised $15,400 with a goal of reaching $16,000 by night’s end.

Team leader Heather Fauble said the team formed in the early 2000s in honor of her mom, Brenda Fauble. The team is comprised totally of family members and has no business sponsor.

“In the past five years we’ve lost several family members to cancer and a very close friend was just diagnosed,” Fauble shared.

Her team does the Shepherd University Relay as well, adding more than $2,000 to the coffers of that event.

Since they began, Fauble estimates the Hearts of Hope team has brought more than $130,000 to the battle to find a cure.

Teams do everything from boot drives to bake sales throughout the months leading up to Relay to reach their goals.

The overall goal for the event was set at $110,000, Davenport said. As of the start of the survivor lap, nearly $82,000 has been reported. Each team turns in their additional funds they raise during Relay hours from sales and raffles and that gets added to the totals.

Davenport said that the Relay does not close out until August 30. Those wishing to contribute may do so online at Relayfor Life.or/JeffersonWV.