Looking to bolster the event's "community presence," Relay For Life of Bartow County's supporters are seeking participants for the American Cancer Society's annual fundraiser.
"Right now we are still in the early stages of Relay For Life of Bartow County," said Debbie Freeman, senior community development manager for ACS' Southeast region, adding the campaign officially kicked off Feb. 1. "We have teams from 2017 continuing to sign up on the website, www.relayforlife.org/bartowga, and have had new teams begin to join our fight against cancer. We do need everyone to join us on the website. This enables us to share important information with the community regarding meetings, training, ideas on growing their team, and we will be allowed to share their fundraising efforts with others in our community.
"It is our hope for many teams around our community to join Relay For Life of Bartow County. This enables the event to truly [have] a community presence and [involve] all assets of our community. We encourage all of our schools — county and city, churches, businesses and other civic groups to be involved. We have many different ways to help individuals be involved in the fight against all cancer."
Proceeds garnered on and prior to the Relay For Life event on Sept. 7 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. will support the ACS, which provides information, offers programs to patients, and funds research for cancer treatments and cures. Months of fundraising will culminate with the overnight benefit, in which team members will take turns walking around the track at the Bartow County College & Career Academy, 738 Grassdale Road in Cartersville.
"Everyone knows someone that has cancer," said Anthia McStatts Santini, a member of Relay For Life of Bartow County's event leadership team. "It really affects everyone on every level.
"… [Relay For Life is] a fun event, and it's something that everyone of all ages can participate in. ... It's one of those events where it doesn't take a whole lot of effort to raise money, because everyone wants to help out."
In 2017, the benefit featured 549 participants and 60 registered teams and generated $163,781 for the ACS. This year, organizers are trying to reach their goal of raising $168,000 with the assistance of 60 teams and 620 participants.
"Our teams have been busy fundraising since January," Freeman said. "It has been fun to watch the teams grow in their fundraising efforts for the fight against cancer. Teams that begin fundraising at an earlier date are able to space out their fundraising activities and not feel so rushed as we near the event.
"Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. The funds raised go toward the mission programs and research. … We are currently recruiting individuals to join our event leadership team, to form teams, and to become event level sponsors. Together, we are making a difference in the fight against cancer. Because of all the work in Bartow County, the lives of cancer patients and their families are being improved."