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Western Jackson County may get own Relay event
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BRASELTON — The possibility that residents in western Jackson County will have a Relay for Life event of their own next year is looking like a done deal.

The American Cancer Society held a meeting earlier this month in Braselton to begin planning for the event, dubbed the Braselton-Hoschton Relay for Life.

The meeting drew just seven people. However, most were seasoned volunteers with the Relay for Life of Jackson County, currently the county’s sole relay event.

Victoria Patrick, senior community manager with the American Cancer Society, told attendees that with Jackson County’s growing population, a new event is needed.

Relay for Life arrived in Jackson County in 1994 and was one of the first relays held in the state. This year’s event was held at East Jackson Comprehensive High School, a lengthy drive for some living in the Braselton and Hoschton area.

“The reason we want to bring it to this side of the county is because Jackson County has grown so much, (and) we’re losing people in this community who really need an event for themselves,” Patrick said. “We just want the opportunity to let the Braselton/Hoschton area have their own event and reach people that we’re not reaching over here.”

Larry Banks of Jefferson said the American Cancer Society has reported that Jackson County is home to as many as 2,000 cancer survivors. Fewer than 200 survivors attended this year’s relay, though.

Banks and his wife, Gail, a 33-year breast cancer survivor, describe themselves as ardent Relay for Life volunteers. They have participated in Jackson County for 18 years. Holding an event in West Jackson, he said, might be the key to getting more people involved.

“Relay is about survivors,” he said. “There are a lot of people out there that we need to reach.”

A second planning meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Sept. 7 in the Braselton Community Room of the Braselton Police and Municipal Court Facility, located at 5040 Ga. 53 in Braselton.

This meeting will focus on establishing an ideal date and location for the Braselton-Hoschton Relay, Patrick said.

She mentioned a possible location could be the recently opened Hoschton Park next to West Jackson Primary. The event also will more than likely be planned around Jackson County’s relay, scheduled for June 3-4, 2011, at Gresham Motorsports Park.

Hall County also typically holds its relay June 3-4, in recent years at Road Atlanta in Braselton.

More information about serving on the Jackson County event’s planning committee also will be provided at the meeting.

Jobs range from helping with advocacy, publicity and entertainment to team development, finding corporate sponsorships and managing the event’s website.

“We have a place for everybody and the more people we get involved, the easier it is,” Patrick said.

For more information, contact Patrick at 706-549-4893 or; Gail Banks at 706-367-9721; or Sandra Fite at 706-367-8574.

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