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Purple Passion: Wednesday sales, paint campaign raise money to fight and awareness about cancer

POSTED: April 27, 2009 11:52 p.m.

You may not need an excuse to shop or eat dinner out Wednesday, but the American Cancer Society will reap the benefits if you partake.

Numerous Hall County restaurants and stores are donating 10 percent of their proceeds Wednesday to the society’s Relay for Life event. The donation day kick-starts the American Cancer Society’s "Paint the Town Purple" celebration which culminates in the 12-hour Relay for Life walk/run event on June 5 at Road Atlanta.

Joy Griffin, community manager for the American Cancer Society’s Gainesville location, said the society aims to honor cancer survivors as well as those who died of cancer with a show of the color purple. According to the American Cancer Society, 600 people in Hall County were diagnosed with cancer between 2000 and 2004, and 218 Hall Countians died of cancer in that same period.

Businesses participating in the donation day are flaunting purple bows in their windows and doorways to signify their commitment to curing cancer. Poor Richard’s, Saul’s, Collegiate Grill, 2 Dog, Cafe N’ Crepes, Scott’s on the Square and Elmo’s Italian Kitchen among many others are participating.

Live music and local vendors will start painting the town purple Wednesday with a celebration on the square from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.

"You’ll start seeing purple bows pop up everywhere," Griffin said. "Then we hope businesses downtown and everywhere will change their displays to having mannikins wearing all purple or servers wearing purple ribbons."

Griffin said Luna’s is also joining the relay fundraiser and will be offering a purple cocktail Wednesday.

In addition to local business donations, Griffin said 121 Hall County teams, including a team from The Times, are signed up to raise money for Relay for Life. She said the Hall County cancer organization hopes to raise $578,000 this year, which would top the $553,809 it raised last year. The teams have already raised $162,064.

Money raised from the donation day and Relay for Life events will benefit the American Cancer Society’s research, education, advocacy and patient service programs.

Griffin said a portion of the funds will go toward cancer patient services in Hall County, such as the "Road to Recovery" program that gives cancer patients free rides to their medical appointments. Proceeds will also benefit the local organization’s "Look Good, Feel Better" program, which pairs cancer patients with cosmetologists who help survivors make the most of their looks during draining chemotherapy procedures.

Griffin said she expects about 1,000 cancer survivors to participate in the survivors’ lap at the Relay for Life event in June.

Tina Roberts, co-owner of 2 Dog, said she’s glad to join friends who have survived cancer in the race for the cure.

"When anyone mentions cancer, it makes you cringe," she said. "Sometimes you like to feel like your contributions make a difference, and hopefully this will make a difference."



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