DULUTH, GA (September 29, 2011) – It’s official! The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life of Gwinnett County is still the largest Relay event in the world.
Society officials have announced that after a friendly, down-to-the-wire competition with Bakersfield, California, the Gwinnett Relay is the top-grossing Relay in the world for the 10th year in a row. It was neck and neck until the end of the fiscal year on August 31, but a generous donation of $88,000 from Clyde and Sandra Strickland of Gwinnett County put the event over the top for a grand total of $2,087,991 – beating out the Bakersfield Relay by about $12,000.
“To put it mildly, we are delighted to hold onto our status as the No. 1 Relay For Life event in the world,” said Bill Manson, the Society’s Area Executive Director for Gwinnett and Hall counties. “We are deeply grateful to the thousands of Gwinnett Countyresidents who supported Relay For Life this year and worked so hard to raise money to keep us on top. And we offer a heartfelt thank you to the Stricklands, whose generosity and dedication to the American Cancer Society and to fighting cancer put us in the lead once and for all. It’s a great feeling to be at the top for an entire decade.”
The Relay event in Gwinnett takes place every May at the Gwinnett Fairgrounds and attracts more than 15,000 people – including thousands of cancer survivors and their families. Teams from schools, businesses, civic organizations, churches and every part of the Gwinnett community walk on the track all night to raise awareness and funds for the fight against cancer.
Since 2002, Gwinnett’s Relay for Life has raised more than $20 million for the fight against cancer, funding groundbreaking cancer research and myriad programs and services to help cancer patients and their caregivers cope with cancer.
But there’s a twist to Gwinnett’s big victory. Manson said Gwinnett has decided to share the prestigious Gordy Klatt Award, given annually to the top-grossing Relay, with challenger Bakersfield. He said plans are already in the works for representatives from each area to meet and swap ideas.
Sandra Stickland, a cervical cancer survivor, summed up the friendly rivalry with the reminder that it’s not about who collects the most money but working together for the same purpose – finding a cure for cancer.
The new fiscal year for Relay For Life officially started on September 1 with the launching of the new Gwinnett Relay website. Only a few days later, 72 teams had signed up for Relay 2012, still nine months away.
“Having the Relay crown stay in Gwinnett is a huge point of pride for everyone here, and we’re all pumped about the coming Relay year,” said Linda Cerjan, the Society’s Senior Income Manager in Gwinnett. “Having those bragging rights for another year has everyone very excited about 2012. Relay For Life in Gwinnett is going to be bigger and better than ever!”
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.4 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in Americawho have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us any time, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.