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County employees join fight against cancer

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats
Clayton County Magistrate Court clerks hope cancer survivors celebrate many birthdays.

Photo by Kathy Jefcoats Clayton County Magistrate Court clerks hope cancer survivors celebrate many birthdays.

By Kathy Jefcoats

kjefcoats@news-daily.com

Clayton County employees are putting the "fun" in fund raising this year with competing campaigns to draw dollars for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life.

Clerks in superior and magistrate courts have dressed out their offices in various themes to draw attention to their efforts. One office features a racing theme with black-and-white checkered flags flapping under air vents -- racing for a cure. Another boasts a birthday theme, in hopes that victims declare victory over the disease by celebrating yet another birthday.

In another office, clerks file records and make copies under paper bowling pins and balls, as they "strike out" cancer.

"It's exciting to see employees be enthusiastic and zealous to collect money for something with the potential to affect all of us," said deputy court clerk supervisor Diane Christian. "It is raising morale and the spirit around the office. I love to see the creativity come out."

Clayton County Tax Commissioner Terry Baskin is chairman of the Relay for Life drive this year. He said his office has raised more than $6,000 through bake sales, wiener roasts and barbecue plates.

"They even auctioned off my parking space for a week," said Baskin.

Baskin said his family is fortunate so far to have escaped the wrath of cancer. He said it is an honor to drive fund-raising efforts.

"When I moved here in 1990, there were two tickets you had to buy during the year -- the Southern Crescent Ball and the American Cancer Society Ball," he said. "What happened? We had new faces come in, and no one picked up the chalice and ran with it. I was thrilled to be asked to be chairman."

The sheriff's office sold food during a cookout Monday, and the solicitor's office is holding a bake sale at the courthouse today, from 10 a.m., to 3 p.m. Baskin expects one more bake sale before the May 13 Relay for Life event, and more money raised by employees paying for the privilege to dress casually for work.

Diane Christian said employees also sold ice cream and chocolate goody bags to help fill coffers, and each office has set donation buckets on the counters for discreet customer donations.

"We set a goal of $1,000, reached it already and raised it to $1,200," she said. "Our customers usually have a story to go with their donation. We had a juror whose wife was undergoing chemotherapy who handed over some money. You just never know when cancer will strike."

The county's teams will join others to walk or run the annual Relay for Life May 13-14 at Southern Crescent Stadium. Donations can be made through the county's team web site at http://main.acsevents.org/goto/clerksoffice.