The Smyrna-Clayton community has completely rallied behind the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life fundraiser with participants raising $70,000 in the second year of the event.

Event organizer Staci Lewis recently took a few minutes to talk to the Sun-Times about how she feels about the early success of the fundraiser so far in Smyrna.

Q How do you feel about the success of this year's Relay for Life?

A I just can't believe that it's doubled in size. I'm just amazed at the growth we've had.

Q What do you think about this year's event raising $70,000?

A I think I'm a little scared of what our goal is going to be next year. I was afraid of what our goal would be this year and we more than doubled. I hope the community pulls together next year, too.

Q Why do you think the teams have been able to raise so much money?

A It's actually an unfortunate reason but I think it's because of the people we've lost in the community. I think that losing them kind of put this in the front of everybody's mind and it just made us all that more determined to fight as hard as we could. Like I said, I wish that [those deaths] hadn't happened, which is why I said it's kind of an unfortunate reason. I also think that some people heard about the success we had the first year and wanted to be a part of it the second year. I'm hoping it continues to snowball in 2014.

Q Do you think it'll be even bigger in 2014?

A Absolutely. Smyrna Wrestlers haven't had a team and they've already asked when they can start fundraising. People can sign up Sept. 1. I know that Kyle Gebhart has some things in the works. It's just as we become more familiar and more connected with Relay, we find out the different fundraisers we can do and ways to spread the message of what American Cancer Society does. So many people don't know the American Cancer Society doesn't just fund research. You can call them for information. They have a 24-hour hotline so if somebody has chemotherapy the next day and can't get there, they'll arrange a ride to pick them up and drop them off. I think that's going to be one of the pushes this year is to really make people aware of the resources out there for them.

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