What brings people together? It is typically an event centered on competition, or celebration, or charity, or remembering, or accomplishment. American Cancer Society Relay for Life is one event that touches on all of these appeals to bring communities, families and individuals together. Relay for Life is now in its 10th year in Morgan, and has earned its place on many people’s calendar as a tradition for many reasons.
Morgan County’s Relay for Life raised $47,583.35. A portion of this money is used to fund the state patient services. The bulk of the money is sent to Nationals to be awarded for proposals in breakthrough research. Utah is given more funds than are raised in the state based on the outstanding research at U of U and Huntsman Cancer Institute. The remaining money is used to fund lobbying in cancer related legislation.
Cancer touches many lives, and Morgan has had its fair share of those that have been affected. The purpose of this fundraiser is to change the lives of those living with cancer, honor those who have lost the battle, and to give hope for the future. “Every dollar you raise makes a difference to the people in this community,” Mayor Jim Egbert proclaimed in the opening ceremony.
There are many reasons why people attend Relay for Life. Gage Adams’ grandparents have been coming for four years to support him in his trial. They feel that it is a good event that helps a lot. They say Gage enjoys the event because it is fun. This was the first Relay Blaine Curfew attended. He has found that this event can help a lot. He became interested after his dad was diagnosed with cancer.
Anissa Poore has been attending for three years and has held several fundraisers, including a booth at the 4th of July Celebration, and at the Fair. She also had a bounce house all night on Friday. She wanted to get involved because she lost her mother to cancer. She thinks that Morgan’s Relay for Life gets better every year, “We love relay and it’s a fabulous cause. Everyone can raise some money.”
Robyn Nelson has attended the event the last several years because it is a fun event. “Some people think it is a race, but it is more like a carnival,” she said, “It’s fun and my kids have a ball.” No matter the reason people chose to go everyone was welcome, and it helped to raise the money.
“People come out and support it even if they aren’t a part of a team,” said Crista Casper Community Relationship Manager. She has been impressed by the way Morgan pulls together to reach out to one another. She thought it was great that Morgan City changed their scheduled movie in the park to not overlap the event.
Official planning for the event began in March. This is when teams were formed, signed up, and set individual fundraising goals. However many teams and individuals are committed to the cause, and plan all year for this event.
Each team can raise money through whatever outlets they find. The top three each had their own strategy for aiding in the fight against cancer. Browning raised $11,969.08. They held a raffle for one of their coveted guns, donated items for the silent auction, and new this year, made special breast cancer knives with a portion of the proceeds going to their team.
Marie’s Messengers of Hope raised $8,362.74 to honor the memory of their beloved Marie. This group of friends and family members have banded together to remember an amazing women, as well as to help find break-through technology to eliminate this serious disease. They held what has become an annual softball tournament, mini relays, Volleyball clinics, and silent auction items to raise this astonishing amount of money.
TNT Dynamite raised $4,484.41, and took a whole different approach. They held their own fundraising event selling trees, and the night of Relay they sold their prized mums. Team TNT Dynamite donated items for the silent auction and they also donated cash.
Every one of the other 20+ teams donated varying amounts through different fundraising means. Some asked for donations, some held bake sales and food events, others held entertainment events. There is no end to the creativity the teams showed in finding their niche in the fight against cancer.
The participants who raised the most money were RaVonna McQuiddy $1,100.67, Tara Hammer $820.04, and Debby Wilkinson $819.99. This close race showed the dedication those involved have for the cause.
One of the most amusing components is the Mr. Relay competition. Hearing this title you might imagine a contest of brawn and strength. You probably wouldn’t be thinking of miniskirts and purses full of dollar bills. Seven of the bravest males in Morgan donned the most feminine outfits they could find. These femme fatales raised almost $1000 in less than an hour. They begged for money, danced for money, and some even sang for money.
That was Trevor Heath’s tactic this year. He sold love songs and did much better than last year. In fact, he took Mr. Congeniality for raising the third most for the competition. Mr. Hottie is the title Gene Tribuzio earned for raising the second highest amount of money. This was his first time competing in the event and he is sure he would do it again to raise money for such a good cause. Some could wonder what he could wear next year to top his glamorous sequined evening gown and blonde locks.
The title of Mr. Relay went to Ryan Barton, also known as Swiss Miss Cocoa girl. This was his first time entering the competition, and he did it for his mother-in-law who has overcome her struggle with cancer. This newlywed met many of his new wife’s community members dressed in a short green skirt right out of the alps, but she was very proud of him. “I love it,” Jenny declared. He said the people of relay are so generous. Relay for life brought together the community in a united cause that can make a difference. It will continue into the future to provide healing and hope. If you would like more information how you can donate, volunteer or check statistics visit the website morganrelayforlife.org.
Additional money can be donated until the end of August!