SIDNEY — Survivors, caregivers, friends, family and supporters descended on the Shelby County Fairgrounds Friday for the 2015 Shelby County Relay for Life.
Craig Pence, of Botkins, was one of those supporters who has been trying to raise money all year for the cause. He created a relay team, Feathers of the Phoenix, with a group of family and friends when his grandfather developed lung cancer and had not smoked a day in his life.
Pence said it’s not about how much money his team makes, because every little bit helps find a cure for cancer. His team had raised $300 as of the start of Friday’s event and hoped to make a couple hundred more over the course of the night.
Their main fundraiser was “skunking” people’s yards, and he said it started in Botkins and made it all the way to Sidney, where Sidney Body Car Star donated $100.
Feathers of the Phoenix’s booth featured a fish pond, a pop ring toss, and a raffle of items donated by Pence’s grandmother.
He said this is one night a year they could show their support and raise awareness.
To celebrate the 30th year of the event, the theme was “The 80’s … 30 Years Strong.” To kick things off Friday night and going with the theme, local musician Matthew Bruce and a group of children sang “We are the World.”
The Anna High School marching band was there, too, along with Stephanie Hale, who sang “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Boy Scout Troops 355, 301 and 249 presented the colors.
Grand marshal of this year’s event was Russ Davis, who lit the ceremonial torch and led the first lap around the track on a motorcycle.
Thirty-seven teams and 294 people had already raised $61,887.67 by the start of Friday night’s event, but the number of teams, participants and money raised was expected to increase tremendously as the night went on.
JC Stars of Hope was one of those groups there ready to raise some more money Friday night. So far they had raised $1,500 and their goal was $2,500. Team leader Christy Akers, of Jackson Center, said her heart strings are pulled by the people affected by cancer and she just had to help out the good cause. Akers said she’s helping someone, if not herself, her children or her grandchildren, by raising money to help find a cure for cancer.
For more information about Shelby County Relay for Life visit www.relayforlife.org/shelbycounty or visit their Facebook page www.facebook.com/RelayForLifeOfShelbyCountyOh.