The threat of rain may have forced Relay for Life inside Dawson County High School, but little could have dampened the celebration.
More than 150 cancer survivors took a victory lap around the school’s gym to kick off the Friday night fundraiser that was filled with activities, entertainment, games and, of course, birthday cake.
Suzanne Hendricks, community manager for the local American Cancer Society, said teams went above and beyond to promote this year’s “more birthdays” theme.
“What a fun night,” she said. “It was so great to see how many cancer survivors were able to still celebrate their birthdays.”
Planning for the overnight relay, which raises funds for cancer research, began in September.
Throughout the evening, participants took turns walking around the gym to honor those who are winning the battle against cancer.
For the second year in a row, cancer survivor Rhonda Stone of the Dawsonville First Baptist team walked the entire 12 hours and was awarded for her dedication, Hendricks said.
Stone was honoring an aunt who died a few days before the event.
Lat year she walked for a friend who, before his death, participated in Relay for Life and would walk or run all night in support of the cause.
At dusk Friday, the hundreds of luminaries lining the gym’s track were lit to honor those who have succumbed to cancer.
As of Monday, Dawson County’s 22 teams, made up of residents, civic clubs, church groups and professionals, had collected more than $43,000 on the way to a $53,000 goal by the end of August.
“I’m so proud of our teams, our team leaders and of this community that give their time and talents to make Relay such a success,” Hendricks said.
“I’m grateful for the time and work everyone put in to further our mission of saving lives and creating more birthdays.”