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Record success in Relay for Life


Imlay event raises $87,000for American Cancer Society



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Crowds wander through fairgrounds on Saturday during 24-hour American Cancer Society Relay for Life. The event drew participants from across the Tri-City area. photo by Diana Farley.
June 13, 2007
IMLAY CITY — Around 800 participants helped raise over $87,000 for cancer research last weekend during Relay For Life at the Eastern Michigan Fairgrounds.

Carol Boom, Community Representative for the American Cancer Society, said she was thrilled that Lapeer County surpassed its fundraising goal of $73,000.

"I cried," she said. "We were really shocked, surprised and happy."

Thirty-four teams of families, friends and co-workers took turns around the fairground track in recognition of those who are living with cancer, or to honor the memory of loved ones who lost their lives to the disease.

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At night, the fairgrounds were aglow with about 1,400 luminaria bags lined along the paved track, and another 80 tiki torches at the fence line.

Rhonda Campbell, 32, of Lapeer, said she's been a part of the Lapeer Meijer team for years. This year, she shared the role of team captain with co-worker Cheryl Booth of Imlay City.

"We've had fundraisers in the store and we raised about $5,000," said Campbell. "It's a fun event and a great cause."

Booth's 76-year-old mother, Betty, was one of 113 cancer survivors who attended the Relay and took part in the survivor walk.

"That's quite an increase (in the number of survivor walkers) from last year," Boom said.

The weather played a huge part in the event's success, she added, with pleasant temperatures and sunshine during the day and a clear, star-filled sky Saturday night.

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Tami Gonyea of First Impressions in Imlay City cuts six inches of Miranda Johnson’s hair at Relay For Life on Saturday. Johnson, of Brown City, will donate her locks to Children With Hairloss, a non-profit organization from Michigan. photo by Diana Farley.
"(Weather) always impacts our event, and we had a positive outcome due to the weather," Boom noted.

This was the second year the Relay was held at the fairgrounds. Boom said expenses of the American Cancer Society were kept to a minimum thanks to the generosity of the fair board.

"They let us use the fairgrounds at no cost, and the Lions Club donated their proceeds from their food sales. They were all just wonderful," she said.

Relay For Life 2007 was held in 4,800 communities nationwide. The American Cancer Society will use the funds raised for research, education, advocacy and patient services.

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