Whitesburg KY

Relay for Life raises more than $500,000 in the last five years

Half of a million dollars has been raised in Letcher County over the last five years to benefit the American Cancer Society. For the fifth year in a row, more than $100,000 has been raised on behalf of Letcher County Relay for Life.

“ Without everybody participating, whether you bought a $1 paper star or an $8 chicken dinner, this wouldn’t be possible,” said Alberta Perry, chairperson of Letcher County Relay for Life.

Fund- raising efforts for 2013 have totaled $ 131,329.20, exceeding the Letcher County Relay for Life Committee goal of $100,000.

“It was a huge success,” said Perry. “I’m real proud of everyone. I want to thank everyone for their continued support. Everyone really comes together for the cause.”

In 2012, $126,424.86 was raised and $163,155.07 was raised in 2011. Fund-raising efforts totaled $113,666.97 in 2010. In 2009, $102,182.88 was collected and $69,817 was raised in 2008.

Funds raised go to the American Cancer Society for cancer research, education, advocacy and services, Perry said.

Childers Oil Company raised $50,000, the most raised this year by a corporate fundraising team in Letcher County. This is the third year in a row Childers Oil Company has raised more than $50,000.

“ Cancer Crusaders” raised more than $14,000, the most raised by a community fundraising team in Letcher County. The team organized several fundraisers including a Hollywood ball in the fall and a barbeque dinner.

The Cancer Crusaders was voted to have the bestdecorated campsite. The group made a gigantic battleship to correspond with the theme of “Cancer isn’t a game.”

Last year, Cancer Crusaders raised $11,352.00.

Jason Hogg, his parents, P.M. and Sandy Hogg, and other family members raised $7,000 by organizing a golf tournament at Raven Rock Golf course in Jenkins.

This is the 17th year Letcher County residents have participated in a Relay for Life event. Money is raised during the year through various fundraisers including bake sales, carwashes and raffles.

After months of fundraising for Letcher County Relay for Life, 15 teams of 18 total teams gathered together at River Park on June 14 to raise cancer awareness, celebrate cancer survivors and remember those who have died from cancer. People set up tents along the track and participated in different activities throughout the night.

This was the second year that sky lanterns were released during a luminary ceremony around 11 p.m. in memory of those who have died from cancer.

“The sky lanterns are absolutely beautiful,” said Perry. “They just float up out of your hand.”

At least 50 to 100 lanterns were released into the night sky.

Perry had announced that last year was her last year as chairperson, but the new chairperson was unable to fulfill the duties because of a new job. A cancer survivor contacted Perry and asked her to come back as chairperson.

“I didn’t realize how important this was for these survivors,” said Perry. “It’s very important to them. I guess I’m here for the long haul.”

In 1985, Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon from Tacoma, Wash., walked around a track at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma for 24 hours to raise money for the American Cancer Society in honor of his patients. Klatt raised $27,000 by walking about 83 miles with people paying $25 to walk with him. In 1986, Klatt organized a small team of people to walk with him in what was the first Relay For Life event. Now millions of people participate in Relay for Life events in more than 5,000 communities nationwide.

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