Local Relay for Life events near fundraising goals

PARKERSBURG – The fight against cancer received a strong push towards eradication this weekend with Relay for Life events in both Washington and Wood counties.

“The event went very well,” said Tim Best, co-chair of the Washington County Relay for Life, just before the closing ceremonies Saturday morning at Civitan Park in Belpre. “The weather cooperated with us and kept the rain away and we worked hard to reach our goal.”

By the noon closing ceremonies, the Washington County Relay had raised $171,000 of its $179,000 goal for this year through the work of 65 teams and more than 1,000 participants.

The Wood County Relay for Life also did well this year, having raised $224,000 of its $265,000 goal, said Susie Warman, community manager for the Parkersburg chapter of the American Cancer Society. This year’s Wood County event at City Park in Parkersburg included 99 teams and more than 1,000 participants.

“The community is really great with this event,” said Melanie Huffman with the Wood County event. “The individuals and businesses of the Mid-Ohio Valley really pull together to help us help those fighting cancer.”

Teams participating in both Relay events have until late August to continue raising funds to meet their goals.

While the Washington County Relay had a superhero theme to beat cancer with one team going so far as to make their own capes and masks, the Wood County event had a reunion party theme as the event marked its 20th year in Parkersburg.

“It brings so much joy and happiness to see the survivors here,” said April Sampson, co-chair of the Washington County event.

“The Relay is a celebration,” added Best. “Yes, there is emotion and remembrance of those we’ve lost, but it’s also a celebration of those who have fought the disease and are still with us.”

Huffman said both Relay events were lucky that the expected rain held off, but if thunderstorms had hit the area, it wouldn’t have mattered.

“There have been years when it has rained terribly,” she said. “But cancer patients deal with much worse than rain.”

Coordinators for both events said the hard work of the committee members allowed things to run smoothly.

“Our committee as a whole was fantastic, which allowed everything to go smoothly,” said Best.

Kristy Williams, co-chair of the Wood County event, said the committee and the nearly 100 teams did a great job this year.

“We have teams that work all year around to raise money and they are truly fantastic,” Williams said. “Every penny we raise for the Relay is one step closer to a cure.”