Relay For Life raises $50,000

May 20, 2000|By ANDREA ROWLAND

Morning downpours didn't dampen the spirits of some walkers circling the South Hagerstown High School track Saturday morning at the end of Washington County's fifth annual Relay For Life.

"We were really determined," Hagerstown resident Phyllis Eshleman said of her "Miss Bo Peep and her sheep" walking team. "It was fun."

Teammate Cheryl Smith might've been a bit damp at 9 a.m. Saturday, but she danced to music blaring from overhead speakers onto the track. Her smiling cohorts followed in rain slickers and drenched baseball caps.

The team, which also included Jane Malphrus and Sherry Smith, walked all night and raised nearly $1,500 for the fight against cancer. They ate pizza at midnight and took catnaps in a recreational vehicle, they said.


Team members walked in memory of Malphrus' mother - nicknamed "Bo Peep" - who died last year of lung cancer.

About 300 people joined teams to participate in the signature event for the American Cancer Society, walking from dusk Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday to raise money for cancer research and education, and to raise awareness of the disease.

This year's event raised about $50,000, said June Datum, office coordinator for the Washington County Unit of the American Cancer Society.

The relay raised a little more than $70,000 last year, and event organizers had set this year's goal at $79,000.

Datum said the weather probably played a minor role in the fund-raising shortfall.

"We've had rain. We've had wind storms and thunderstorms," Datum said. "(Event participants) go rain or shine."

A large donation and one corporate team's exemplary sponsorship drive boosted last year's event, she said. This year's relay lacked such a generous private donation, and recent changes within the company hindered that top fund-raising team's sponsorship efforts, Datum said.

There were also many late joiners and fledgling teams this year, she said.

"You have to look overall. We'll grow again," Datum said. "We look forward to all of (the teams) coming back next year."

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