From staff reports
Hundreds of people, including more than dozens of cancer survivors, converged on Louisville High School football field Friday night for the Winston County Relay For Life cancer fundraiser.
Event organizers still were counting donations Friday evening as participants lapped the track, but Brandi Krajewski, Relay Co-chair, by Monday morning said that the event had collected nearly $28,000 which was only $2,000 short of the $30,000 Winston County goal.
“Our goal is $30,000 so we are working hard to make up the additional $2,000,” said Krajewski.
The funds go to local and national cancer organizations to help develop treatments to cure cancer and help those in the fight against cancer.
Krajewski was proud of the event especially the sponsorships that helped get them so close to the goal.
“Our sponsorships were awesome this year! This was one of the highest years of sponsorships. So, I am very humbled at the out pouring of those businesses who sponsored. I was extremely proud of my own employer, Winston Medical Center, who was the only platinum sponsor,” said Krajewski.
The event kicked off with emotional announcements of the names of cancer survivors and having them appear on the track for a survivor lap which started the Relay for Life. Following the survivor lap, a caregiver lap was taken. The teams laps continued the marking of the event. The event also included the luminaries ceremony which recognizes those fighting and those who have lost the battle against cancer. Adding to the luminaries was a sky lantern event this year.
“We also did sky laterns this year at relay and so many people in the community are asking if you saw those lights in the sky,” said Krajewski. “’What were they?’ many a people asked. I laugh because I have heard various stories as though something in the sky looked like a UFO. However, they were our sky lanterns that we lit in honor or memory of people who have dealt with cancer.”
Kristi Stapp who lost her father to cancer noted that the moment those lanterns went up she said it almost took her breath at how beautiful it was.
“She (Kristi Stapp) feels that we will put more emphasis next year on selling those lanterns as well as our luminaries,” said Krajewski since they are a beautiful physical reminder of those fighting cancer or those lost to the disease.
With this year’s Relay completed, those on the Winston County Relay for Life team are not sitting back but rather making their battle plans for the future fight agains cancer.
“After completing this year, I feel that Winston County has a lot of potential but needs to focus more on being involved. This up coming year we plan to start earlier and get more involvement from our schools and local businesses,” Krajewski. “ I think that we need to jump start a little earlier to get more people involved.”
Krajewski explained that cancer never takes a rest and that wrapping up Relay night did not mean wrapping up the fight.
“I don’t feel that I have completed a year of Relay. I feel that I just got what I needed to keep fighting. I believe in August we will be forming a new committee and starting early to get to a higher goal and bring Winston County where we need to be,” said Krajewski. “ The best thing about Relay was that those who attended had a great time and all worked for a cause. It is team work.”
To recognize the team work part of the event, teams were rewarded for their participation in the event. East Louisville Baptist Church won the best campsite and best participation. East Winston Fire won the Spirit of Relay. The Way Church won best food and hospitality and Noxapater Attendance Center won the best school spirit and best fundraiser.
The Relay event returned to Louisville High School Football field after being at other venues in the community and Krajewski noted she was glad to be back at LHS.
“I also want to say thank you to the Louisville Public Schools for allowing us to utilize the football field. That is where Relay needs to be. I am very humbled at the support that they and the community gave to us during this year relay,” said Krajewski
The money raised goes to the American Cancer Society to support research and programs for those with cancer, like Road to Recovery, a program that provides rides to patients who don’t have a way to get to their cancer treatment. Persons may still donate by going to the website at http://relay.acsevents.org.