Rescheduled Relay still success

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Lincoln County Relay for Life officials are expecting theweekend walk to hit or exceed its goal of raising $100,000 forcancer research, even though teams were lost to circumstance whenFriday night’s rain forced the event to be canceled and moved toSaturday.

Relay chairwoman Regina Terry said $86,000 has been turned inthus far, with that number expected to grow as teams deposit theirearnings in the coming days.

“We’re expecting several thousand more,” Terry said. “We haveseveral teams that have not turned in their money yet, and some didexceptionally well – $3,000 to $5,000 each.”

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Terry said meeting the $100,000 goal would be quite anaccomplishment for Lincoln County’s event, not only because of thelowered attendance brought on by the rain, but because of the hardeconomic times facing the country.

“It would be wonderful for us to hit the goal, because all thesurrounding counties that had relays have all been down,” she said.”But our teams have worked exceptionally hard, and our new teamshave been eager. You have to want it and you have to believe in itto put it up, take it down in the rain and then come back the nextnight.”

Event co-chairwoman Melissa Hester said all attempts were madeto ride our Friday evening’s storm, but the decision was made tocancel the event at approximately 5:45 p.m.

“Before the walk started we had wind tearing up some tents,” shesaid. “We held down tents as best we could, but it got out ofcontrol – one family’s tent was torn to pieces.”

Hester said relay officials made the call after contactingLincoln County Civil Defense and learning that more storms would bemoving through Brookhaven later in the evening. Half an hour later,at 6:15 p.m., the relay was rescheduled for Saturday night.

“Everybody had already bought tickets, and we were trying tohurry up and redeem them,” Hester said. “Moving it back a week wasdiscussed, but this was the best date available for the ExchangeClub.

“And if we had changed it to another Friday night, it would haveconflicted with other counties’ relays, and we try to set them upwhere they won’t overlap,” she continued.

Hester said Saturday night’s attendance was good, but naturallylower than normal due to the rescheduling. Eight relay teams failedto return, leaving only 14 to do the walking and fundraising.

Relay officials made numerous phone calls, ran advertisements onthe radio and depended on word of mouth to announce therescheduling, Hester said.

“It’s not as big a crowd compared to normal, but it’s a largecrowd,” she said. “It’s a wonderful turnout considering thecircumstances.”

The relay was cut short, ending at midnight Saturday as not tointerfere with Sunday services.

Hester said the biggest disappointment of the night was thatalmost all the cancer survivors were absent Saturday night. Therelay committee will be meeting this week to schedule a makeupevent to honor those survivors – possibly for later this month – aswell as give out awards from the event.