Dawson County High sophomore Mollie Stanfield was recently crowned Miss Relay for Life.
The 16-year-old daughter of Julie and Jason Stanfield, Mollie will serve as an ambassador for the local organization, which rallies in support of cancer research, patient programs, services and education efforts.
"While I haven't lost many people close to me, my grandfather [Roger Slaton] works very closely with Relay for Life," said Mollie, who is involved with the Relay for Life through both the community and Silver City Baptist Church.
She also said the struggle she has seen a young Dahlonega woman face in her cancer battle played a significant role in her involvement with Relay.
"Kre Wehunt is a big inspiration to me. I've had the honor of working with her for a pageant before," she said.
As Queen, Mollie will represent Dawson County by attending Relay for Life gatherings leading up to the annual daylong event set for 11 a.m.-10 p.m. May 14 at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame.
Nearly three dozen girls and young ladies competed in the March 6 pageant held at Dawson County Middle School.
"We would like to say thank you to our 32 beautiful contestants who participated in the pageant and to everyone that came out too support Relay for life," said Kris Rowan, captain of the Dawson County Parks and Recreation Relay for Life team. "With your help we raised $3,500 to help with cancer research."
Contestants were judged on age appropriateness of attire, personality, overall appearance and stage presence.
Junior, Teen and Miss contestants were also required to answer onstage questions.
The winners from each division were: Teen Miss Relay Emma Nicole Pelfrey, Junior Miss Relay Cydney Mary Cunningham, Sweetheart Miss Relay Chloe Elizabeth Tanner, Petite Miss Relay Trinidy Rarick, Teeny Miss Relay Annaleigh Gilbert, Tiny Miss Relay Braelyn Grace Rowan and Baby Miss Relay Avery VanBuskirk, who was also named an Honorary Ambassador.
A special recognition was also awarded to Autumn Stewart, who was crowned Ambassador Queen for raising the most funds to be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Dawson County Relay for Life kicked off its 2016 fundraising initiative Jan. 19 at Cornerstone Church, where volunteers wearing camouflage declared they would unite as a community to honor survivors, raise awareness of reducing cancer risks and collect funds to help the American Cancer Society.
"We are building back Relay in Dawson County, and we're just hoping to get more people involved and get more survivors and caregivers involved so we can recognize them, as well," said American Cancer Society Representative Brooke VanBuskirk.
Last year's event brought out 85 survivors, 215 participants and 20 teams to raise $43,057, more than doubling the amount collected a year earlier.
For more information about Relay for Life or to sign up, visit www.relayforlife.org/dawsoncountyga.