In 2010, the Garland County Relay raised $222,542; in 2011, $216,145; and in 2012, $222,609.
The amount dropped significantly in 2013, to $174,139, when severe weather forced organizers to postpone the event by a week.
“We’re not going to do that this year,” Smith said, asked if the event could possibly be postponed again.
“We were second-largest in 2013. Union County was first; we will return to No. 1 this year,” Smith said.
Relay For Life in general is set apart from other cancer fundraisers because the American Cancer Society provides funding for all types of cancer research, not just one particular kind, Smith says.
Presenting sponsors this year include St. Vincent Hot Springs, Weyerhaeuser Co. and Genesis Cancer Center.
Hope sponsors this year include National Park Medical Center and Hot Springs Radiation Oncology.
Regions Bank is a Gold sponsor. Silver sponsors include Relyance Bank, Simmons Bank, Coco Beverage and Hot Springs Braces.
Supporting sponsors include Tim Parker Chrysler Dodge Jeep and ERA Realtors.
Fight Back sponsors include Drs. Fleischner and Van Bebber, Alliance Rubber Co., Turf Catering, LifeNet, Wilson Entertainment and Sam’s Club.
Mission sponsors include Arkansas Gastroenterology and David Tackett Inc.
In addition to Crawford, other Relay for Life volunteers include Becky Roddenberry and Valerie Ross, team recruitment; Brenda Plummer, team administration; Lisa Gloria, online chair; Kathy Watson, Luminaria chair; Becky Antoine and Renee Simmons, accounting co-chairs; Dan Smith, Dick Antoine, Dave Barentine, Bill Sexton, and Brad Sexton, logistics chairs; Terry Wallace and Larry Wilson, entertainment chairs; Jan Hodges and Pat Herrin, Activities chairs; Joanne Blos, mission delivery; Jennifer Evans, advocacy chairs; Susan Rima and Roseanne Mickens survivorship co-chairs; and Jennifer Hare and Leisa Gill, publicity co-chairs.
The survival rate for cancer patients has risen by 20 percent since 1991, and the American Cancer Society has been involved in every major breakthrough in cancer research, Smith said.
Relay For Life also has an additional fundraiser in Garland County, its annual gala “Summer in Hot
Springs Key West Style,” which will be held Aug. 9 at the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa’s convention center.
While many participants “camp out” and stay for the entire 12-hour, overnight event, many also leave after the Luminaria Ceremony, which honors both victims and survivors of cancer, and the Silent Lap.
“It’s hard. But that’s kind of the symbolism in it. The overnight thing is symbolic of the cancer patient’s journey. Everybody is there in the beginning, rallying around you, and supporting you,” Smith says.
“Then, as the night goes on and it gets harder to stay up, that symbolizes the diffi- cult time during your treatment when you’ve got a few people that are hanging there, walking beside you,” Smith said. “As the weeks go on,” Crawford noted. “And the morning is symbolic of the new day, and the end of your treatment. So, new hope. There’s that word,” Smith said.
Survivors make their way around the survivor lap during the 14th annual Relay for Life at Oaklawn Park