HAMLET — Relay for Life teams need about $5,000 more to meet their six-figure goal for Richmond County’s 2014 American Cancer Society fundraiser.
The Richmond County Relay had collected more than $94,800 when the Friday night walk at Richmond Community College’s Cole Auditorium was complete, organizer Cameron Whitley said. The event may be over, but families and businesses still have plenty of time to meet the $100,000 fundraising goal.
“Teams can continue to fundraise until Aug. 31,” Whitley said. “The majority of money certainly has been turned in. Most of it will come in within the next couple weeks — I feel pretty confident we’ll get there.”
Thousands of people converged on the Cole Auditorium for the Richmond County Relay for Life. Thirty-nine teams and 654 individuals participated in the six-hour walk, circling the auditorium’s large front parking lot to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Light rain fell intermittently Friday evening, but teams kept on walking and the crowd didn’t disperse.
“There was some drizzle, but overall, it was a fantastic event,” Whitley said. “The weather held out. There was never any heavy rain.”
Relay for Life begins with two ceremonial laps around the track, the first for cancer survivors and the second for survivors and their caregivers.
“The survivors’ lap was incredibly moving this year,” Whitley said. “People really cheered them on around the track. I think they felt appreciated and inspired.”
Friday’s event was the first Relay for Life held at the Cole Auditorium on the community college campus. Richmond Senior High School and the Rockingham Speedway have played host to past relays.
“Cole Auditorium was an awesome venue,” Whitley said. “They were great to work with, and I think participants really enjoyed the location. We’re definitely hopeful to be back there in 2015.”
Relay participants followed an oval course that encircled vendor and informational booths along with a bounce house and kids’ game areas. There also was live music and a classic car show.
Organizers said first responders’ support was a big part of Relay for Life’s success. Richmond County sheriff’s deputies and Hamlet Fire and Rescue emergency medical technicians were on hand throughout the evening.
“I feel like the American Cancer Society is really fortunate to have the support of businesses and families and sponsors all across the county,” said Whitley, who works for the national nonprofit’s Charlotte offiice as a Relay for Life specialist. “It truly is a community effort.”
To donate to a Richmond County Relay for Life team online, go to http://bit.ly/RAciys.
Reach Editor Corey Friedman at 910-997-3111, ext. 13.