by Madison V. Fisler
Feb. 7, 2014. Last night, Relay for Life of Watauga County hosted their annual opening ceremony at Deerfield United Methodist Church in Boone. Beginning at 6 p.m., veteran participants and new relayers met and mingled to prepare for this year’s fundraising efforts.
Headed up by co-chairs Kathy Idol and Brian Barker as well as the American Cancer Society community manager Melissa Hiatt, the event’s attendance more than doubled the attendance of last year’s kick-off event.
Last year, Relay for Life of Watauga County boasted 36 teams with a total of 288 team members raising funds throughout the year. Total donations raised in 2013 came to $115,327.50. This event served as both a kick-off for this year’s campaign, but also as a venue to recognize teams and individuals who gave an outstanding effort last year.
The top teams were recognized at the ceremony for their efforts throughout the year raising funds and coordinating events to help fight cancer.
Top Ten Teams
- Friends for Life ($11,406)
- Deerfield Dream Team (11,259.75)
- Jerry’s Intimidators ($10,621)
- BACC Walking with Spirit ($7,006.75)
- FBC Crusaders ($6,233)
- Ted’s Troop ($4,290)
- MOAA HCC ($4,000)
- Grace Happens ($3,908.80)
- Bethel Believers ($3,705)
- Lights for Louise ($3,577)
Awards were also given for the top 10 individual fund raisers, who worked diligently to raise funds for the cause on their own.
Top 10 Individual Money Raisers
- Della Presnell ($4,209)
- Kathy Idol ($4,036)
- Evelina Idol ($3,392)
- Sara Speed ($3,030.02)
- Turner Trivette ($2,600)
- Deborah Kirksey ($2,337.50)
- Faye Oliver ($2,000)
- Jill Hauser ($1,980)
- Mary Ruble ($1,878)
- Steve Idol ($1,651)
A special award was given out to the children’s top money raiser for the year. The award was given to Amber Hamby, of Bethel Believers who alone raised $3,145 for Relay for Life.
The Heart of Relay award was given to Jennifer Lacy, who became chair of the Parkway School Patriots team in 2013. A fourth grade teacher at the school, the Parkway team jumped into action when two Parkway teachers, Donna Raichle and Elizabeth Buchanan were diagnosed with cancer. This year, Lacy will be working with all Watauga school teams to help make this the best year yet.
Jeannie Caviness was recognized at the event as the Committee Member of the Year, for her exhaustive work with the Deerfield Dream Team.
After awards, a guest speaker was invited to speak. Appalachian State University student Caitlin Lemon spoke in front of a silenced crowd about her experience with cancer, which tragically took her father before she was even in high school.
In 2006, her father was diagnosed with gastrointestinal stromal tumors and tragically passed away in 2007.
“On Christmas Eve, my father coded in his hospital room,” Lemon said. Her father passed away eight days later.
It was this tragedy that led Lemon to participate in Relay for Life through her high school tenure, and to continue doing so throughout her college career eventually becoming the top fund raiser for ASU’s Relay for Life. Tragically, her grandmother also passed away from cancer late last year.
“I hope that together we can finish the fight and win the war against cancer,” Lemon said at the conclusion of her speech.
The event ended with “All You Need to Know About Relay,” an informative video. And with the end of the meeting, let the fundraising begin! It’s never too early to start raising funds for this worthy cause.
Relay for Life egistration and commitment fees are due by March 3. Team members must raise a total of $100 by May 20 to be eligible for a team T-shirt.
For more information about Relay for Life, contact ACS Community Manager Melissa Hiatt at [email protected], co-chair Kathy Idol for event information and logistics at [email protected] or co-chair Brian Barker for accounting, fundraising and event information at [email protected] The website for the Watauga County Relay for Life can be found here.
Watauga County’s Relay for Life is scheduled for June 20 at Watauga County High School at 6 p.m.
photos by Madison V. Fisler