More than $200,000 raised at Re­lay For Life

An­nual fundraiser brings out hun­dreds in bat­tle against can­cer

Maryland Independent - - Front Page - By MICHAEL SYKES II msykes@somd­news.com

Rather than al­low­ing can­cer to take the fight to them, hun­dreds of par­tic­i­pants pushed back and raised hope for those who need it at the Charles County Re­lay For Life.

From 6 p.m. on Fri­day evening to 6 a.m. Satur­day morn­ing, the Charles County Fair­grounds in La Plata were filled with those pro­vid­ing do­na­tions and sup­port to the bat­tle against can­cer.

Cristina Van­droff, a com­mu­nity man­ager at the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety, said 75 groups in to­tal par­tic­i­pated in the re­lay. Any­one look­ing to at­tend and sup­port the cause could walk laps around the cir­cle with the many groups pro­vid­ing do­na­tions in their own ways.

Some groups sell food, Van­droff said, while oth­ers sell clothes or host events to raise funds.

“Every­one has their own way of rais­ing do­na­tions,” Van­droff said. “It’s a col­lec­tive ef­fort be­tween the 75 groups we have.”

Sure, it goes on into the early morn­ing, Van­droff said, but there is a rea­son be­hind it. Can­cer is a dif­fi­cult disease and it does not have a time frame in­volved. Nei­ther does the bat­tle against it, Van­droff said.

“Can­cer never sleeps so nei­ther do we,” Van­droff said. “That’s our motto.”

The Re­lay For Life is a good op­por­tu­nity for peo­ple to come out and make do­na­tions in what­ever way they can to help de­feat can­cer, Van­droff said. The 75 groups — in­clud­ing many par­tic­i­pants from Charles County Pub­lic Schools — helped raise money with do­na­tions through fundrais­ers.

Over­all, just un­der $200,800 was raised for the event with mem­bers in the Charles County Pub­lic Schools rais­ing just over $124,300. Michael John­son, a par­ent of a child in the pub­lic school system, said it is good to see peo­ple come out and par­tic­i­pate

in a cause like Re­lay For Life.

“We’re do­ing some­thing that re­ally mat­ters, and at the end of the day the sup­port is great,” John­son said.

There was mu­sic, food, fes­tiv­i­ties and plenty of mas­cots to go around. Spon­sors from Chic-fil-A, Rita’s Ital­ian Ice and Texas Road­house all made ap­pear­ances at the re­lay, which fea­tured tents for all 75 par­tic­i­pat­ing groups.

West­lake High School’s team of par­tic­i­pants raised $12,170, which was the high­est of any group that par­tic­i­pated in the re­lay.

Karen Costa raised the most money in­di­vid­u­ally with $2,741. Via a post on the event’s do­na­tion page, Costa said she par­tic­i­pates for her mother, who lost her bat­tle with can­cer in 2013, as well as her un­cle, who she lost to can­cer in 2015.

It’s over­whelm­ing to think mil­lions of peo­ple will be di­ag­nosed with can­cer just this year, Costa said in her post.

“A Re­lay For Life event is not only a way to join my com­mu­nity to fight back against can­cer, but it is also a way to in­spire hope by rais­ing funds and can­cer aware­ness to help those fac­ing the disease,” Costa said.

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