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Relay kicks off
Event set for April 26
3 Relay for Life pic
The Cat in the Hat, also known as Julie Samples, entertains the crowd during the Relay for Life kickoff last week at Dawson County High School. - photo by Michele Hester Dawson Community News


Relay for Life teams can register at, or for more information, call Andrea Shoemaker at (770) 297-1176.

Smurfs, super heroes, fairies and the Flintstones were the stars of the show Jan. 8 as Dawson County Relay for Life kicked off the 2013 fundraising campaign in an effort to "toon out" cancer.

Last year, 30 local teams joined together to raise more than $83,000 for the American Cancer Society.

Organizers are hoping to have at least 35 teams this year with a goal of collecting $90,000 to support cancer research, patient programs, services and education efforts.

As of Tuesday afternoon, 19 teams had raised more than $4,600.

"We're excited about this," said Tasha Hamil, campaign chairwoman.

Keynote speaker for the evening was newly-sworn in state Rep. Kevin Tanner, who recalled the strength, perseverance and courage he saw as his grandmother, Rethell Fauscett, battled cancer several times.

"One of the strongest influences in my life was my grandmother," he said. "She faced adversity head on in her life and she was a fighter and she never backed down from a fight worth fighting.

"This didn't change the first time she was faced with cancer."

In all, Tanner said his grandmother fought throat, lung and brain cancer before passing away in 1998.

"Each one of us and each one of you have a personal and similar experience with this terrible disease. This is the reason we dedicate our time, our energy and our financial resources to battling this terrible disease," he said. "It's time that we end the devastation that this disease has caused.

"It's time that the word cancer is something that we talk about that people used to get before there was a cure."

Last week's kickoff also marked the last event for Suzanne Hendricks as community manager with the American Cancer Society.

"As many of you know, this is my last week with the American Cancer Society. It's been an incredible four years working here in the Dawson community and I'll truly miss having the opportunity to work with each of you," she said.

Andrea Shoemaker, who has worked with Hall County Relay for Life, is Dawson County's new community manager.

"I'm so excited about being here with you guys. Hall County has a lot to live up to, because you guys have come in such spirit in dressing up," she said.

Dawson County's Relay for Life is set for 6 to 11:30 p.m. April 26 at Veterans Memorial Park. It will not be an overnight event as in past years.