SIDNEY – The main event for the Shelby County Relay for Life commenced on the shaded courtsquare on Aug. 5 with no rain and over $50,000 raised for the cause.
Emotions permeated the air as survivors and their friends and families gathered for the opening ceremony and the survivor’s lap. Most who attended seemed to have been attending for years and greeted each other as they passed by, and many survivors had large support systems, like Kathy Marsh, an Event Leadership Team (ELT) committee member.
She started spearheading a Relay team for Ferguson Construction in 2008 when her dad was diagnosed with cancer, and since then, she and her husband have fought cancer. This year, the Ferguson team raised around $20,000 before the event and was the highest-earning team. Marsh credited this to money earned and donated from raffles and two guitars bought by a Ferguson employee at Country Concert.
When asked how she felt about Relay, Marsh became emotional.
“This day means a tremendous amount to me for many different reasons now,” Marsh said. “I’m very humbled that I’m a part of this Ferguson family.”
Angie Ross also works at Ferguson and has been involved in Relay for four years. She commended Marsh for the fundraising work that she puts in as well as the Ferguson company.
“She puts in a lot of manpower, just organizing everything and I think that shows within the employees and the community, so a lot of donations come through everything that Kathy does for us,” Ross said. “I don’t necessarily have an individual in my family currently that we’re sponsoring, but I work with Kathy, and she is fighting right now, so everything is for her.”
Deb Kaufman, the team leader of the Connection Point Church team, has been participating in Relay for 20 years. The church was the second team with the highest earnings, coming in at over $6,500. Kaufman said the money came from candy bar sales, providing food for concerts downtown, the vendor fair in November, chicken dinners, and selling 72 luminarias before the event.
Sidney First United Methodist Church also topped the leaderboard with $6,000 raised and had veteran Relayers involved on their team, like Denesa Goings, who has been participating in the survivor’s lap for years and had cervical cancer over 30 years ago. Her mom also had cancer.
“I love it. You wouldn’t even have to have these tents up and I would still love it,” Goings said of the event.
Volunteers are always welcome and needed for Relay for Life. For more information and to get involved, visit https://secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=relay.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.