Harlem's Relay for Life chairwoman Jean Dove (foreground) and relay team members sing karaoke to My Girl at the Relay for Life kick-off celebration.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Harlem's Relay for Life committee opened the three-month fund-raising season with a party atmosphere at a kick-off celebration Jan. 27.
The theme for this year's relay, slated for April 22-23 at Harlem Middle School, is "Walkin' Around the Clock ... Rockin' With Lives Saves," Jean Dove, event chairwoman, said at the meeting.
The meeting included 1950s-style decor, poodle skirts, karaoke and root beer floats to get team members excited about the upcoming fund-raising efforts.
"We're excited," said Dove, who also is a 30-year cancer survivor and has led Harlem's relay all four years.
Julia Prather, a longtime Harlem resident, said the relay benefits the American Cancer Society for cancer education and research. Prather, the relay's Survivorship co-chairwoman, is a 28-year survivor of breast cancer and a brain tumor. She will be in charge of organizing the cancer survivors for the traditional Survivors Lap, which leads off the relay.
"This is the reason for what we are doing," Prather said. "The relay is getting more and more survivors."
Derry Kitchens (left) and Rena Donaldson fix root beer floats for participants.
Photo by Valerie Rowell
Officials say Harlem's relay has been a fund-raising success in the past, surpassing goals each year except in 2004.
The 14 teams participating in 2004 spent two months raising $55,000, which is $5,000 more than in 2003, Dove said. Participants met the society's set goal of $55,000 in 2004, but the relay leaders raised the bar from 2003's $30,000 to a goal of $70,000. Even though the goal was not met, Dove considered the relay a success.
Karen Lewis, society area manager for Northeast Georgia, agreed.
"I was stunned at the amount of money you guys raised, and that this is such a small community," Lewis told teams at their most recent meeting. "You have been raising a huge amount of money for the population here."
Lewis has been involved with the relay since 1993 and said the $55,000 Harlem raised in 2004 is equivalent to the proceeds raised by an entire county or much larger city.
"We are nothing without the volunteers," Lewis said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.