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Relay for Life is a walk to remember

Annual event gets record turnout at Road Atlanta location

POSTED: June 6, 2009 12:50 a.m.
TOM REED/The Times

Jackie Reed, right, and Pat Bartlett release balloons Friday at the conclusion of the Survivors Lap at the Relay for Life.

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BRASELTON — Hall County Relay for Life participants flocked to Road Atlanta on Friday night for the group’s biggest event yet.
The annual American Cancer Society fundraiser was held at the Braselton speedway for the first time this year to accommodate the growing crowd.

“There are more than we’ve ever had, that’s for sure,” said Joy Griffin, the Hall County community manager for Relay for Life. “We are just blown away by this turnout.”

Though she didn’t know exactly how many people attended, Griffin said there were 125 teams registered for this year’s event, up from 90 teams last year.

Griffin said though some expected the economy would put a damper on fundraising efforts, she believes Hall County will be able to reach its goal of raising $578,000.

“Relay is an event that happens $10, $20 at a time,” Griffin said. “They’re still giving. Cancer’s not affected by the economy.”
Relay for Life teams represented all aspects of the community, including schools, churches and businesses.

Tammy Gilstrap came to Relay for Life with her daughter’s cheerleading team at East Hall High School. Gilstrap said the team takes on community service projects each year and decided to return to Relay for Life for the second time.

“They had a really good time last year and they raised a lot of money,” she said.

The Lambda Iota Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority sold baked goods and raffled off gift baskets to raise money for the cause.

“It’s a great experience to come out and support the survivors,” said Marsha Stringer, the president of the sorority. “It brings the community together.”

The Longstreet Cancer Center was a sponsor of the Relay for Life. Dr. Richard LoCicero said the event is another way to show support for the many people in the community who have been affected by cancer.

“I think cancer is a really scary word. But cancer can actually bring us together in a really positive way,” LoCicero said.



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