The Smyrna/Clayton Relay for Life can raise money until August 31, but meetings for the 2013 relay will start August 16.

THE STORY The first-ever Smyrna/Clayton Relay for Life was held in May and exceeded expectations when the event raised over $30,000; the goal was to raise $25,000.

Relay for Life is an overnight event that raises awareness while raising money to fight against cancer. Teams are created, they raise money and then attend the relay where they will not only partake in various activities but must always have someone from the team on the track at all times.

The event was held at the Smyrna High School track. North Elementary teacher Staci Lewis was the chairperson for the event and was ecstatic with the amount of money raised in the first year.

“We’re over the moon. I can’t tell you how excited we are,” Lewis previously said.

WHAT’S NEW It’s been a few months since Smyrna held its first Relay for Life event but that doesn’t mean the groups involved have stopped raising money. To date, the group has raised roughly $31,500. They have until Friday, Aug. 31 to raise money as part of the 2012 program. Any money raised after that will go towards the 2013 Relay for Life.

So how exactly is the Smyrna/Clayton Relay for Life still raising funds? By selling t-shirts and bracelets. Interested individuals can buy “Crush Cancer” shirts for $12 in purple, red, green or pink; some colors are sold out. Lewis said they are also trying to get the shirts in orange and  black. The bracelets are silver charm bracelets that say “Relay 2012” on them and are sold for $15 each.

The group has already sold between 125 and 150 shirts so far, Lewis said.

All the proceeds from the shirts and bracelets will go towards Relay for Life, which benefits the American Cancer Society.

The response from the Smyrna/Clayton community has been great, Lewis said. A lot of people were surprised with how much money was raised while others didn’t even know the event was being held.

“People were excited we brought something like this to Smyrna and are eager to participate next year,” she said.

Furthermore, the American Cancer Society was surprised with the group exceeding their $25,000 goal.

“Everybody was really surprised. I guess it just kind of shows the community spirit we have been talking about here,” Lewis said.

WHAT’S NEXT The final day to raise money for the 2012 Relay for Life is Aug. 31 but meetings for the 2013 relay will begin in mid-August.

There will be a volunteer interest meeting for the 2013 relay on Thursday, Aug. 16 at 6 p.m. The meeting location has yet to be determined.

Starting in September, Lewis said the committee meetings will be the second Thursday of each month. The team meetings will be the fourth Thursday of each month.

Along with preparing for next year’s Relay for Life event will be the planning of other fundraisers. Next year’s fundraisers will include a motorcycle ride, a horse trail ride and a wine tasting.

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