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Relay for Life kicks off by 'tooning out' cancer
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The Dawson County community turned up to Toon Out cancer at the annual Relay for Life kick-off event, held Jan. 8 at Dawson County High School.

A big change was announced for this years local event: It wont be held overnight any longer. It will take place on Friday, April 26, from 5:30-11:30 p.m., said American Cancer Society representative Suzanne Hendricks.

Hopefully, well have more people to stay with us, said Event Chair Tasha Hamil.

This years theme is Tooning Out Cancer, and teams are encouraged to dress up and act the parts of their favorite cartoon characters. The goal this year is to raise $90,000 with 35 teams. Last year, more than $83,000 was raised in Dawson County.

Two years ago, we exceeded our goal by a lot, Hamil said in a later interview. Last year, we didnt quite meet our goal, but we still want to reach our goal and exceed it. So we felt $90,000 was a good amount. We hope to have more businesses this year. I think the economy is picking up just a little bit, so hopefully well see a little bit more.

Relay organizers also are hoping to add new teams this year, which they think may boost the final numbers.

Speakers at the kickoff event included Sarah and Grace Alford, who talked about their relationships with their grandmother. Also speaking was State House Rep. Kevin Tanner (R-District 9). We are blessed to live in a community where we have so many people who care about others, he said.

Tanner shared a story about his grandmother, who beat both throat and lung cancer and then was diagnosed with brain cancer. He talked about her inspiring walk down the aisle at his wedding shortly before her passing.

I challenge each of us to work harder this year to raise money and beat cancer, Tanner said.

Awards and prizes also were handed out at the event, with Dawson County High School and Dawson County Parks & Recreation each receiving $100 to go to their team totals this year.

Another change this year is that Hendricks, who has served as the community manager for the area encompassing Dawson County, is stepping away from her position with the ACS. Andrea Shoemaker will take her place.

For more information and to register a team, you may visit