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Community encouraged to form teams, support fundraisers for Relay

When Greenville Middle School math teacher Samantha Stabler was just a teenager, she saw what the ravages of cancer could do to a loved one.

“I had an aunt who was a breast cancer survivor; I had an uncle who was diagnosed with lung cancer. He didn’t make it,” Stabler recalls, fighting back tears.

“He passed away less than six months after his diagnosis. I started getting involved in Relay when I was 15 because I wanted to help make a difference.”

Later, when one of her students was diagnosed with cancer, “I had an urge to do a lot more.”

Now Stabler devotes two weeks of each summer serving as a volunteer counselor at Camp Smile-A-Mile for children fighting cancer. She also serves as the Teams Chair for Butler County’s Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society.

“My family members, students and my campers are the reason why I Relay . . . this is my way of giving back,” she told those assembled at the February Team Captain’s Meeting last week at the Greenville YMCA.

While 13 teams have already registered online, with several more planning to register, Stabler encouraged those present to recruit additional teams from their schools, churches, civic groups and communities. Incentives are in place to be won by those who bring new teams on board. Teams can register online at www.relayforlife.org\butleral.

Community Representative Jessica Garrard said getting the youth of today involved in Relay is vital, with special youth training planned prior to the March meeting. “We ask that you reach out to your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews and encourage them to seek out volunteers from their church and school groups,” Garrard said.

With only three months to go before the arrival of Relay For Life 2010 in Butler County, a number of fundraisers are already underway in the county, said RFL Chair Galahad Smith.

“I’ve already had a bunch of pink birds in my yard, courtesy of Southside Baptist’s team. It was a lot of fun,” he said, referring to the group’s “Flamingo-A-Friend” fundraiser.

Upcoming Relay fundraisers include:

*Masquerade at the Ridge: Harley’s Angels Relay For Life Team welcomes you to a Mardi Gras celebration at Cambrian Ridge this Saturday, February 25 at 7 p.m. Dress is formal or cocktail; tickets are $35 each or $60 per couple.

*Spaghetti Supper and Men’s Dessert Contest sponsored by the Sandcutt Community RFL Team at 5 p.m. at Antioch West March 5. Donations taken at the door.

*Butler County Bike Ride for Relay: The first-ever Butler County Bike Ride is set for March 20 and will feature a short kids’ ride and three different routes. Event will begin and end at the Butler County Fairgrounds. Contact Debra Waller at debrawaller@att.net.

*Relay For Life Beauty Pageant: The Harley’s Angels will hold their annual Relay For Life Pageant on Saturday, March 27 at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Categories from Baby Miss to Golden Miss. Entry deadline is march 19. Contact Natalie at 334-437-4488 or April at 334-382-0446.

*Harley’s Angels’ Big Event for RFL: On April 3, Harley’s Angels RFL Team will sponsor its annual Poker Run, Benefit Bash and King of the Grill Contests at the Butler County Fairgrounds. Questions should be emailed to harleysangels36037@yahoo.com or call Wendy at 334-525-0473.

The Butler County Relay For Life for the American Cancer Society is set for Friday, May 7 at the Greenville Y.

The next Team Captain’s Meeting is set for 5:30 March 11, with youth training scheduled for 4:30 p.m. that day at the Y.