Relay for Life of Jackson County wraps up 2017 fundraising


Fundraising for the 2017 Relay for Life of Jackson County recently wrapped up.

Event leaders reported 20 teams combined to raise $44,256, falling short of the $50,000 goal. They also had hoped to have at least 25 teams.

There were 238 participants (goal of 260), 64 survivors (goal of 80) and 10 American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network members (goal met).

After expenses, the event season total was $42,140.

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The 20th annual Relay for Life of Jackson County, “Lights! Camera! Relay for a Cure!” was May 5 at Seymour Middle School.

Because of the weather that day, the event was moved inside the school’s two gymnasiums.

“I know it’s fast and furious and a lot of hard work, but we made it through,” said Melissa Pressler, Relay for Life community manager. “All of it really was a fantastic job. I know we had such a rainy spring that it was kind of bad for some of the fundraisers. It was kind of bad for our Relay because we had to move inside a small area, so hopefully, next spring will be a little nicer for us.”

As preparation begins for next year’s Relay for Life, organizers are looking at ways to draw more people to get involved and build excitement for the event, which is the American Cancer Society’s signature fundraiser.

That would include higher attendance at planning meetings and getting more people to volunteer the day of the event.

“It’s like anything you’re in. Everybody is busy,” said Robin Boicourt, a member of the ESA One Step-One Miracle team. “They find things that they are passionate about, and that’s what they get involved with, so unless Relay is a passion, they have too many other things to be involved.”

Julia Aker of the Bloomin’ Librarians team said it might be good to have an agenda listing specific things that will be done or discussed at meetings so people know it upfront.

Stacey Brummett of ESA One Step-One Miracle said it’s important to keep meetings on track and short, possibly having separate meetings for new teams, team captains and the event leadership team.

Pressler said having team ambassadors who help new teams is key, and then the task becomes keeping those teams coming back each year.

“I think a lot of people who do invest their time in Relay definitely have a passion and a reason for why they do what they do, just knowing someone in their family or their community, somebody that they really care about,” Pressler said. “Maybe it’s reaching out finding more people somehow that have the same passion that we do.”

One of the fall fundraisers planned for this year is Power in Purple. That involves finding five to seven community leaders who will compete against each other to raise the most money. The goal would be for each of them to raise at least $2,500, and people would be able to go to a website to see who’s in the lead.

The participants would be introduced at the official kickoff for the 2018 Relay for Life.

“Hopefully, that gets them excited with what we’re doing with Relay, and maybe they can start a team and use the Power in Purple donations for their team,” Pressler said. “We thought it would be fun and get the community more involved.”

Because of unpredictable spring weather, organizers are tossing around the possibility of having next year’s Relay for Life inside the Seymour High School gymnasium. It’s the third-largest high school gymnasium in the United States and has two levels with plenty of space.

“That way, we don’t have the threat of weather, we can preplan it, we can just know what we’re doing in advance and really get everybody on board,” Pressler said.

The location, date and time of the event will be announced at a later date.

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The 2017 Relay for Life of Jackson County, “Lights! Camera! Relay for a Cure!” raised $44,256 ($42,140 after expenses).

The top five teams were ESA One Step-One Miracle, $12,669; Caring Hearts, $5,107; Immanuel Cancer Fighters, $4,689; Bloomin’ Librarians, $2,521; and Trey’s Team, $1,512.

Proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

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For information about Relay for Life, contact Melissa Pressler at [email protected] or 317-440-8851.


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