Chamber Chat - Relay for Life

Sep 24

By Meg Moss


Forty teams, 35 local businesses and 1500 people participated in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life of Lee County activities held this past May and July at the Lions Club Fairgrounds.  And the final numbers are in… nearly $113,500 was raised locally to support the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives from cancer. Funds raised help the American Cancer Society provide free information and support for people facing the disease today, and fund cancer research that will help protect future generations.


“One person can make a difference”. According to the Relay For Life website, in May of 1985, Dr. Gordon "Gordy" Klatt walked and ran for 24 hours around a track in Tacoma, Washington, raising money to help the American Cancer Society. Friends, family, and patients supported him as he walked and ran more than 83.6 miles and raised $27,000 through pledges. As he circled the track, he thought of how he could get others to take part. The next year, 19 teams were part of the first Relay at the historical Stadium Bowl and raised $33,000.


Now, Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. It is staffed and coordinated by volunteers in more than 5,200 communities and 27 countries. Volunteers give of their time and effort because they believe in taking action against cancer.


Each year in Lee County, one evening in May is considered the signature “Relay For Life” event where over 1,500 people descend upon the Lee Regional Fair grounds to celebrate life, and raise funds for cancer research. However, the American Cancer Society says it’s actually a year-long project. According the ACS Community Development Manager, Lisa Wicker, “it involves organizing corporate and community-led teams, holding a survivor dinner, organization of the volunteers so they can plan and execute the event, and team-led fundraising throughout the year” Due to weather conditions at the May event, the local community pulled together to hold the luminaria ceremony in junction with the fire truck pull in July.


“It was inspirational to see people from all parts of our community come out to support us and help save lives from cancer,” said Crystal Stubits, the local lead of the event leadership team. “Together, we celebrated those surviving cancer, remembered loved ones lost, and took tangible action to make a difference.”

Lee County has had a Relay For Life event for over 20 years, and has been held at places such as the Lee Senior High School track, and the Lions Club Fair Grounds.


The business community is vital to the success of the event. Not only did businesses have teams raise funds throughout the year, but they supported the event with in kind donations as well. Financial and in-kind support came from the following companies for Lee County’s 2017 Relay:


A Storage Place, Carolina Women Fitness Center, Caterpillar, Core-Mark, Coty, Dales Cleansing Well, Davenport & Company, Earp Entertainment, F&W Entertainment, House of Prayer Restoration Ministry, Hunter Energy Worsley Golf Cart Sales and Service, Lee Iron and Metal, Life 103.1, Lions Club Fair Ground, Moen, Noble Oil, Pentair, Pilgrim’s Pride, Pinehurst Medical, Quickbites, Rodeco, Sandhills Porta Johns & Garbage, Sanford Area Society of Shaggers, Sanford Contractors, The Shed Depot of NC, Trion, Tree Masters, Tyson, WBTV 46, Weeks Sand Pit, WWGP/WFJA, Yarborough’s Ice Cream, and Young’s Lawn Care LLC.


Donations are already being accepted for the 2018 year, and can be made at The 2018 year is already underway and anyone wanting to participate in the planning of the event, to volunteer, or to have a team, the website is up and running.


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