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Annual fundraiser aids cancer research
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At a glance

What: Relay For Life of Dawson County

When: 5:30-11:30 p.m. April 26

Where: Veterans Memorial Park

• 5:30 p.m. Booths open

• 7 p.m. Opening Ceremony

• 7:15 p.m. Survivor lap

• 10 p.m. Luminaria Ceremony

• 11: 30 p.m. Closing Ceremony


Dozens of volunteer teams are spending the week putting the finishing touches on cartoon-inspired festivities for Friday night's event.

The American Cancer Society's signature fundraiser, Relay for Life in Dawson County, will be from 5:30 to 11:30 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park. Unlike previous years, this is not an overnight event.

As of Monday, 28 teams made up of 358 volunteers had raised more than $28,000 to support cancer research, patient programs, services and education efforts.

It was a drug developed by the American Cancer Society that survivor Pat Cavanaugh said saved her life and makes the event so much more special.

"Relay for Life, which is the largest fundraiser in the world, through the American Cancer Society ... so much research is done, and with the research, it helps not only for the cure but for the prevention of cancer," she said.

In 2012, 30 local relay teams raised more than $83,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Team members are hopeful this year's "Tooning out Cancer" theme will be the attraction community members will need to help reach the $87,000 goal.

In addition to decorating campsites to reflect the theme, volunteers are also expected to be dressed as popular cartoon characters.

"Our team is G.I. Joe," said Chris Bearden, captain of Dawsonville Gun and Pawn's team.

"As a family owned and operated business, we've had a lot of cancer-related deaths in our family, and it's time to put an end to it."

Cavanaugh's Dawson County Woman's Club team has adopted the lovable Sponge Bob Square Pants theme, while visitors to the United Community Bank site will be seeing blue at the team's Smurf tent.

Teams will also have activities for the all ages, like bingo, face painting, crazy hair and cake walks, planned throughout the evening.

A variety of tasty dishes from homemade candies, cotton candy and boiled peanuts, to pizza, burgers on the grill and treats from area restaurants will also be available to purchase.

The festivities kick off with an opening ceremony that celebrates the lives of those who have battled cancer.

After the ceremony, more than 100 cancer survivors will proudly take the track for the annual survivor's lap to celebrate their personal victories against the disease.

"I think this is very important in our community. When you go to Relay and you see so many people there wearing their purple shirts that are survivors, this gives encouragement and support to so many to fight the fight," Cavanaugh said.