Relay for Life still going strong despite economy

Published 12:32 pm Saturday, July 19, 2008

When the economy suffers, it seems no one is immune. One would think that fundraising efforts would also suffer, but that isn’t necessarily the case in Chilton County.

Relay for Life Board members are talking over their goals for the upcoming year, and they are staying optimistic.

“We’re going to approach it like we always have, be positive and see what happens,” said Relay chairman Robert Griffin.

This year the county raised $194,000 toward cancer research, a 4-percent increase from the previous year. While that didn’t match the effort of three years ago, the program continues to gain support.

Teams are working year round to catch companies while they are budgeting for the next fiscal year. Meanwhile, they are telling individuals to save their money and be ready to give come January.

These local volunteers are part of a bigger network whose mission is one and the same.

“Relay for Life had more teams than ever this past year. Fifty-two teams,” said Morgan Choat, Northwest Alabama Area Director of the American Cancer Society’s Mid-South Division.

Their efforts are backed by 3.5 million active volunteers, survivors and caregivers at the American Cancer Society who are passionate about eliminating this disease and are not easily dissuaded from participating in Relay for Life and other activities.

While the current U.S. economical environment poses fundraising challenges, the American Cancer Society has historically remained strong through economic uncertainty.

“Cancer is still the public’s top health concern,” Choat said. “It does not go away in a recession; people need our services more than ever when times are tight.”

Money given to Relay for Life every year goes toward research, education, prevention, patient support, detection and treatment. This requires a strong commitment from everyone involved.

“If we remain focused on our fund-raising goals, cultivate strong constituent relationships and deliver on our mission, we will remain strong,” Choat said.