By Johnny Jackson
The campaign to raise money to fight cancer is a never-ending effort, according to local Relay for Life organizers.
"Even during these tough economic times, cancer doesn't sleep, and we can't either," said Carrie Halcome, co-chairperson of Henry County Relay for Life. "Our theme this year is 'Relay 365 for a Cure,' because we want to relay every day."
Halcome said organizations across the Southern Crescent raise money, year-round, in support of the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life charity event each spring.
In Henry County, school groups are highly involved in the effort, according to Halcome, who is also the relay team captain for East Lake Elementary School in McDonough.
Halcome said schools contributed much of the $410,000 raised during the 2009 Henry County Relay for Life effort, and represented nearly half of the event's participating teams.
"Out of the top 10 [fund-raising] teams last year, eight were schools," Halcome said. "Schools make good money from their little fund-raisers.
"Their mini relays bring in a big chunk of money," she continued. "They also provide awareness for the kids, so they know what they are doing and why they are doing it."
Halcome said schools recently wrapped up a fund-raising project in Henry County in which parents purchased letters from Santa Claus for their children. The $5 letters, she said, included a postmark from the North Pole.
Through another project, the Trees of Hope project, Halcome said, East Lake will be selling Christmas tree ornaments which represent the cause of fighting cancer. The sale will be Dec. 1 through Dec. 11. "We have 'Trees of Hope' -- a purple tree and a white tree," Halcome said. "The white tree is in memory and the purple tree is in honor."
The project, she added, is one of several fund-raisers East Lake is doing this year, including its Holiday Silent Auction on Dec. 11 and its Mini Relay for Life on April 2.
Schools host several small fund-raisers throughout the year for Relay for Life, including jeans and hat days in which teachers or students purchase tickets in order to wear jeans and hats at school, Halcome said. Eagle's Landing High School, for example, is hosting a "Fun Run" event in December.
"We really are trying to get everybody involved, our businesses and churches too," Halcome said.
To learn more about area fund-raising efforts for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life, visit the Relay for Life web site.
On the net:
Relay for Life: www.relayforlife.org