ZEBULON — East Wake Relay for Life’s recent fundraising history shows the event is climbing back toward the high marks it had achieved prior to a 2009 embezzlement scandal.
The event raised more than $131,000 in 2008, but its totals dropped to less than $96,000 in both 2010 and 2011 following the foul play. As of Wednesday, the 2013 event’s total was just over $110,000 for fight against cancer.
“I think we’re regaining the confidence of the community for the Relay for Life organization in eastern Wake County, and I think the economy has turned around a bit,” said Vickie Curtis, who has served as event chair since the 2010 Relay.
The local Relay group saw an increase in business and community sponsorships for its most recent event, held in May at Five County Stadium. But Curtis said the rise in trust resulted in more than just generous givers.
“There was a difference I felt among the event participants, the different teams,” she said. “I saw and felt a greater camaraderie and greater sense of family – not that that’s not been there in the past, but it was kind of more obvious this year.
“That’s speaking overall throughout the whole year, not only at the event.”
The 2103 Relay came just short of the $113,000 target set by the American Cancer Society.
It marked the second straight year at least $109,000 was raised.
“I am pleased with the increase,” Curtis said. “Would we like to hit the goal? Absolutely. But every penny, dime and dollar makes a difference toward finishing the fight against cancer.”
Relay never sleeps
Just as quickly as one Relay year ends, the next cycle begins.
A 2014 Relay for Life kickoff event for committee members and people interested in being on the organizational committee is slated for Sept. 12 in the Wendell Baptist Church fellowship hall. Two weeks later, on Sept. 26, a kickoff event for team captains, co-captains and anyone interested in creating a Relay team will be held at the same location.
“It’s extremely important,” Curtis said of participation at the informational meetings. “From a committee perspective, we need as many people as possible to fill the different positions. In relation to the kickoff for teams, obviously we need our teams established and to get them dates for events so they can go out and begin their fundraising to fulfill their goals.”
Anyone can form a Relay team like the many, businesses, churches, civic groups, families and school organizations that typically fill the East Wake Relay’s roster.
“There’s no magic in terms of who comes together to create the team,” Curtis said. “The magic comes from having the desire to finish the fight to cure cancer.”