"One of the big fundraisers that we had that was successful was Sam Jones United Methodist just went on the street corner and got the permit to go and [raise] money with the buckets," said ACS Northwest Senior Community Manager Gretchen Barkley. "They did really well with that. I want to say [they raised] about $2,000 in just one afternoon. [We've also had] pancake breakfasts [and] I know Melissa & Co. [Salon] is planning a high heel parade that they're going to do in August. They are going to just have a walk and participants are encouraged to wear their high heels or shoes, and the color of the shoes is to represent the cancer that they're fighting for.
"We've [also] got yard sales, the normal things like that. One of my volunteers is going to have a birthday party, and she's asking for donations to be made on her behalf for the American Cancer Society. I think definitely the tried and true [method] of just asking people is still a great way [to raise money] but creativity catches attention. I'm all about shock factor on certain things, just to try to get people to pay attention because there is a lot of competition in fundraising. [We are] really just looking for Bartow County to continue their support. We encourage new people to get involved."
The money garnered on and prior to the Relay for Life event will support the American Cancer Society, which provides information, offers programs to patients, and funds research for cancer treatments and cures. Months of fundraising will culminate with the overnight Sept. 9 benefit in which team members will take turns walking around the Dellinger Park track.
Last year, 99 teams generated $250,000. With 75 groups already registered, Barkley believes the upcoming event is on track to recruit 115 teams and raise $300,000.
"What I'm really trying my best to get people to understand is that fundraising is the main part of Relay," said Melanie Collier, a co-chairman for the local Relay for Life effort. "[That] is really what Relay is all about and [it is] a community effort. ... Cancer can strike anyone at anytime. It is so important to support the efforts of the [American] Cancer Society because it is truly a charity that touches everyone and the benefits from supporting it could potentially benefit anybody."
For more information about Relay for Life, visit www.bartowrelayforlife.org or call Barkley at 770-429-0089. Ideally, teams need to register by July 28.