The annual Relay for Life event of Richmond County, this year themed “Racing for a Cure” and held at Rockingham Speedway, netted $82,000 and counting.
“We had a great event with about 5,000 people,” said Cameron Whitley with the American Cancer Society.
Cold and wind did not deter cancer survivors and their supporters from coming out and walking and enjoying a number of fun activities and entertainment, including bounce houses for kids and several bands like Hydrenaline of Rockingham. A classic car cruise-in was also held.
Cascades Tissue Group took first place, having raised $12,000 among the 76 team members. In total, Whitley said there were 34 teams made up of businesses, churches, schools and families and friends, all of which will continue to raise money until Aug. 31.
A campsite contest allowed people to compete against each other with themes. The winner was Mt. Carmel Baptist Church, who decorated toilets for their theme “Racing to Flush out Cancer.”
“We’re so thankful to all who attended the 2013 Relay For Life,” said Whitley. “The American Cancer Society is fortunate to have so many generous supporters in Richmond County. Many thanks to Rockingham Speedway for hosting our event.”
Months of planning went into the organization of the event, and because of the new venue, the learning will continue until next year’s event.
Co-chairs Bill and Linda Bayless run the committee that puts the event together, and have done so for 10 years.
“I think for the first time at The Rock it went well,” said Linda. “I think everyone was really pleased. We had lots of room and were able to shuttle people in and out.”
Linda said she thanks everyone in Richmond County who supported the cause with donations, “because we know how precious the dollar is.”
“I appreciate everyone coming out,” she said. “And to everyone who helped, there are not enough words. Everyone on the committee has a job and does it and they are so dedicated. It’s all volunteerism and they work so hard because some of them have been touched by cancer or someone near and dear has, so they take it personally.”
Rockingham Speedway owner Andy Hillenburg took his youngest child to Relay for Life on Friday and stayed for several hours to enjoy the entertainment and the community feeling.
“Rockingham and the Richmond County community are very important to us and to be a part of that was a very good experience,” said Hillenburg. “I love this community and getting to do things like this is a lot of work but it’s worth it. It’s a great cause.”
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.