“It was just a wonderful night,” said Linda Bayless, co-chair of the event. They had 46 teams registered for the event, and 37 had camp sites.
Tony Anderson of Farm Bureau Insurance attended the event with members of his company. The company didn’t field a team, but many of the wives were walking for other teams, Anderson said.
“This is our first time out here,” he said. “It seemed like a good thing to do.”
Around the track multiple items were available for sale like food, glow sticks, raffles and 50/50 drawings.
As of Friday evening, $94,000 had been collected. “We know there is more money out there,” Bayless said. The planning committee is hoping to see the numbers reach more than $100,000. The 2009 Relay for Life raised about $121,000.
Speakers for the opening ceremony were George Whitfield, a cancer survivor, and Lynn Clewis, caregiver to her late husband.
“The speakers were just amazing. It was very moving,” said Bayless.
Additions to this year’s Relay for Life were the white dove release, a bone marrow registry and the attendance of a troop of soldiers from Fort Bragg. The 82nd Airborne in Fort Bragg lost a member from Richmond County to cancer recently and sent troops to march in full gear during the event.
Visitors who attended Relay for Life, that were not registered as a team member had to pay $5 to attend, but were given $5 in “relay bucks” which they could exchange for items being sold at the event.
“In the past we had no control of the comings and goings,” said Bill Bayless, co-chair of Relay for Life.
Bayless explained that the system was working. There were many survivors present Friday evening.
“We had 135 registered before Relay for Life and registered more than 84 that night,” said Ann Wheeler, survivors’ coordinator.
Survivors who registered received a special T-shirts, as well as the 2010 survivors pin. This year, caregivers caps were also given away to the caregivers who supported the survivors.
At 9:30 p.m. the lights at Raider Stadium were turned off where participants walked a lap in memory or in honor of those with cancer. The luminaries lit up the visitor’s side of the stadium spelling out the word “Hope.”
Cameron Quick can be reached at (910) 997-3111 ext. 15 or by e-mail at email@example.com.