For more information about Dawson County Relay for Life, call Suzanne Hendricks at (770) 297-1176, Ext. 29062.
Despite the downpour outside, the Relay for Life kickoff drew a crowd to Dawson County High School on Thursday night.
Feeding off the success of 2011, organizers hope this year to raise $90,000, their largest goal to date.
The Relay, a 12-hour walk event in which teams raise money for the American Cancer Society, is set for May 18-19 at Veterans Memorial Park.
It will feature an estimated 35 teams and honor more than 150 cancer survivors. There will also be various booths and activities.
Last year, the effort exceeded its goal by nearly $30,000. The event, with 30 teams and nearly 600 registered members, collected more than $87,000.
It also honored more than 120 cancer survivors.
"We all need to be united and stand behind this cause," said Justin Power, co-chairman of the 2012 campaign. "I am excited to see the community get behind it."
During the kickoff Thursday, team members watched a slideshow of photos from last year's Relay while eating dinner.
The teams then used miscellaneous props to perform skits inspired by the TV show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"
Keynote speaker and breast cancer survivor Julie Samples shared with the group her reasons for participating.
"I am here because of research and all the people out there that were relaying before me," Samples said.
Following her speech, those who raised the most funds last year received awards and special recognition.
This year's Relay for Life theme is patriotic, declaring "Together We Are United Against Cancer!"
Power was pleased to see the community's enthusiasm.
"It is such a worthwhile cause," he said. "Cancer affects so many people. Every person knows someone who has had it."
The money raised will make it possible for the American Cancer Society to fulfill its mission of saving lives and creating more birthdays.
"The money people raise goes straight to helping people, even here in Dawsonville," Power said.