Smyrna/Clayton Relay For Life has made quite a bit of noise since it was started in 2012 and is expected to continue to grow with the fundraiser's third event this May.
In each of the first two years of the fundraiser, the Smyrna/Clayton community has exceeded expectations. Last year, the fundraiser crushed the original $33,000 goal by bringing in $70,000. For this year's event, the expectations have been set even higher with a goal of $75,000.
Relay For Life raises money for the American Cancer Society. Through the fundraiser, teams find ways to raise money during the year and come together in May for an overnight event.
This year's event is May 16 through May 17 at Smyrna High School.
Organizers kicked off the 2014 Relay For Life Jan. 28 at the Smyrna Diner. Event organizers, American Cancer Society representatives and local cancer survivor TJ Hess spoke at the kick off.
"The stats say only one in 100 people know about Relay For Life and we raised $70,000," said event chairperson Staci Lewis. "Imagine how much we could raise if two in 100 people knew about relay or three in 100 people knew about relay."
Over 400 people participated in 2013 and Lewis hopes that number continues to rise. They're hoping for around 40 teams. Committee members are needed this year to assist with planning. Moreover, the group is hoping for 40 people to sign up for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, which lobbies for cancer research.
Lewis said they're hoping more survivors attend this year's event. Survivors have free registration and attend a dinner at the relay.
"They're why we do this," she said.
The theme of this year's event is "Time for a Cure." Lewis said the event will feature decade-themed laps around the track.
With the growth of the program, Lewis said there is some concern that they may not reach their goal of $75,000 this year but she believes the group can do it especially once the ball gets rolling.
Accounting Committee Chair Jenny Havel agreed.
"The second year went really well. This year will be a challenge but we're up to it," Havel said.
The efforts in 2013 garnered three awards in the Delmarva Region for the Smyrna/Clayton Relay For Life program. The first was for the amount raised, the second was for highest percentage increase in funds raised, and the third was for Lewis as the Outstanding Event Chairperson.
Page 2 of 2 - Lewis said she found about the awards while at a training session in October. While some awards were expected, Lewis was floored to be singled out for the chairperson award.
"I couldn't believe it since it was only the second year of the fundraiser," she said.
Event co-chair Anne Thomas said there are all types of ways to do the fundraisers and for the teams to get creative.
Lewis said even something as simple as filling a water bottle up with dimes raises $100.
"I know it's hard to ask people for money because tings may be tight for some people but every, every, every dollar counts," Lewis said. "Even if people don't register, I encourage them to come out, see what we're about, and for them to come out and support us."