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Watauga County Relay For Life Teams Raise Funds, Hope and Morale in Their Crusade to Irradicate Cancer (Part 1)

by Madison V. Fisler

June 7, 2013. The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Watauga County will be held at Watauga High School in Boone starting on Friday, June 14 and lasting through the night and into the morning of June 15. This annual fundraiser not only raises money for cancer reasearch, but also serves as a meeting point for supporters, survivors and caretakers and as a memorial to those who have already passed on.

This year, Relay for Life is spectacularly large event that consists of 36 teams raising money for the American Cancer Society. In this series, we will feature a few of the teams each day, in no particular order, up to the day of the event on June 14. 

Friends for Life, headed up by team captain Kathy Idol, is a team of 9 members which was started seven years ago by Elaine Trivette. The members of the team include Kathy and Steve Idol, Wayne and Elaine Trivette, Clint Kimbrough, Evelina Idol, Jerry South, Gail Gross and Debbie Wellborn. Three of the team members are cancer survivors themselves, while two others lost their husbands to cancer in the past.

DownloadedFile-1The team sponsors three major fundraisers to raise money for Relay for Life. First, the team holds a raffle that includes a quilt, a Richard Tumbleston print, an electronic Schlage lock, a leather travel bag, a handmade scarf, a baby quilt and a cookbook. The team also holds a Praise Sing at the Laurel Springs Baptist Church each year and the team also sells lminaria bags to display during the singing at at the Relay event. The team is also in charge of the silent auction at the Relay for Life event. Last year, the team reaised $2,800 at the silent auction. 

“We are very grateful to every business that supports this fundraiser,” said Idol. 

The team also raises money through corporate sponsors, who donate money to Relay for life by sponsoring a track sign for $100 each. These signs line the track at Watauga High School during the relay. The team has also tried to get the medical community involved through a program called MPAC, which stands for Medical Professionals Against Cancer. Donations to the team can be made up until the day of the Relay on June 14. 

The Deerfield Dream Team, which is headed up by captain Jeannie Caviness, is a team of 20 members which was started several years ago by Becky Million and Karen Hastings. Both women had their lives touched by cancer in some way, and so they decided to commit themselves to Relay for Life to give back out of appreciation for cancer research. The team is made up of 20 members of the Deerfield United Methodist Church including Caviness, Dona Alejandro, Mardy Brown, Bendamin Caviness, Christa Caviness, Janice Cheek, Claudia Cooke, Clayton Cooke, Nancy Cooke, Karen Hastings, Curtis Mull, Sandy Mull, Colleen Murray, Ken Murray, Rebecca Shippy, Margaret Sigmon, Doris Storie, Sheila Storie, Norma Teague and Angel Walsh-Teague.

The team worked tirelessly all year doing fundraisers like the Night of Dreams Concert in April, their “Month of May for Relay” month-long fundraiser where the team hosted a series of meals for their church to raise money for Relay, and a Wellness Wednesday in cooperation with Watauga Medical Center. 

“We cook a lot in the month of May,” said Jeannie Caviness. 

“We have also knitted and crocheted what we call ‘Relay Rags’.” Caviness said. “They are dishcloths that people have made that we sell to raise money. We also have a wonderful woman named Marilyn Wright in our church who has donated a quilt along with Angel Teague to sell in a raffle.”

The team members also cleaned houses for donations to the American Cancer Society. They will also be selling concessions like barbeque, hot dogs and homemade desserts during the Relay for Life event on June 14. 

“We have worked really hard and right now our team is in the lead,” Caviness said. 

“We are happy that we have made a difference.”

The Deerfield Ridge Assisted Living is a team led by Theresa Littrell and Jennifer Teague which has existed for as long as the assisted living facility has been open. To raise money for Relay for Life, the team started a Krispy Kreme donut sale fundraiser which will continue through next week. The team has between 8 and 10 members participating in the event on June 14. As of press time, no names of the participating team members have been released.

“We have had a lot of residents who have battled cancer and who have benefited from cancer research,” Teague said. 

“We always try to be a part of the Relay for Life Community, it is such a great cause.”

Watauga Opportunities is a four-member-strong team consisting of captain Dianne Brown and her teammates Janet Isaacs, Donna Eller and Griffin Ericksen. The team has been in existance for 12 years. 

“Many of our clients at Watauga Opportunities have been diagnosed with cancer over the years,” Brown said. 

“I think that it’s important to participate to honor the memories of those who have fought this fight and lost, and to celebrate those who have won.”

To raise money, the team has hosted several meals at Watauga Opportunities and is scheduling an ice cream social for next week.

“We have had this team for a long time and we look forward to doing it again in the coming years.”

The Bethel Believers is a team comprised of captain Irene Woodard, her seven-year-old granddaughter Amber Hamby and eighth-grader Brooklyn Rominger, who is herself a cancer survivor. The Bethel Believers are in their third year as a team for Relay for Life, and are excited to be participating this year. 

“I had done Relay with another team for about 15 years,” said Woodard. “Just as I was about to call it quits, Amber decided she wanted to do it too.”

The team has raised money through yard sales, selling ham biscuits and through corporate and individual donations. Members of their church, Forest Grove Baptist, also helped them to raise money for the event. 

“Amber just loves helping people, and loves doing good things. I think it’s important to do all that we can to help people,” Woodard said.