Relay kickoff attracts record attendance

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2000

Energy was high Monday night when more that 70 Butler County residents packed into the Greenville Depot meeting room for the official kickoff party of the Butler County Relay For Life 2000.

The annual fund-raiser for the American Cancer Society officially began when Butler County chair Joan Reynolds announced a new theme for this year's event, and encouraged everyone in the county to either sponsor a team or participate with a team to make

this year's event the most successful in Butler County history.

Email newsletter signup

The theme "Movies" will be reflected in team costumes and camp sites this year and organizers are hoping to exceed last years donations by almost $20,000 as they work to achieve a goal of $100,000 for Relay For Life 2000.

2000 marks the fourth year Butler County has staged a Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society, all of which have been successful events, and Reynolds said if Monday night's attendance was any indication of the enthusiasm this year's event is generating, Relay For Life 2000 will be the biggest ever.

In 1997, organizers raised more that $54,000 to help fight cancer and then exceed those donations significantly over the next two years. Last year's Relay For Life raised more than $80,000 for the American Cancer Society, which helped Reynolds feel this year's goal in not only realistic, but attainable.

"Each year the residents of Butler County are asked to go above and beyond the call with charitable contributions," she said. "It seems that even in the worst of times the residents of Greenville and Butler County always put their fellow man first and this is something we can all be proud of."

Attendants of the kickoff party listened to ACS representative Pam Dostic discuss where the money raised from Relay For Life goes once it is turned over to the American Cancer society.

Dostic assure those in attendants that every penny is spent "wisely" and that the Sate of Alabama probably benefits from Relay For Life more than any other state in the country.

According to ACS figures, more than 40 percent of funds raised by Relay for Life go directly into research and the search for a cure. A large percentage of this research is done in Birmingham at UAB, and Dostic said more money funds this research than is raised in the state during Relay For Life.

Dostic said the American Cancer Society has the highest possible rating given to a charitable organization for raising funds. Less than three percent of these funds each year are spent on administrative costs, and less than 15 percent is reinvested into the fundraising process.

Since its beginning, ACS has spent more than $2 billion on cancer research and continues to provide services to cancer patients in the local area each year.

Dostic said that when ACS began, the survival rate for cancer patients was less than 10 percent. She said that today through the efforts of ACS's research, education and assistance programs, the survival rate for cancer patients is now about 50 percent and continues to get better.

Dostic said the newest efforts of the ACS research program are centered around genetic research which will hopefully provide even more effective treatments in the future.

"The goal we have is that eventually everyone who faces cancer will survive," she said.

Cancer survivor Tim Pierce spoke to those in attendance about his experiences and the assistance he received through ACS during his personal fight with cancer. Pierce's story will be discussed further in a future edition of The Greenville Advocate.

Butler County's Relay For Life 2000 will be held at the LBW campus in Greenville on May 5. Anyone interested in either registering a new team or participating with one already registered should contact Reynolds at 382-2696, or Angela James at 382-9896. Cancer survivors or families of those who lost the battle with cancer wishing to share their story prior to the event can contact this reporter in The Advocate newsroom at 382-3111.