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Relay For Life exceeds fundraising goal

June 19, 2005|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Relay For Life, an overnight American Cancer Society fundraiser, walked right past its goal as Friday night turned into Saturday morning.

Stacey Kijowski, who was on the entertainment committee, said the American Cancer Society hoped to raise $80,000, but brought in at least $105,000.

Another goal was to sell 100 luminarias, which are bags with candles that are lighted to honor cancer survivors and remember cancer victims. Kijowski said 500 luminarias were sold.

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The hope for many was to raise money and to keep going, as long as they could, throughout the marathon event at South Hagerstown High School.

It started with a survivors' reception Friday at 6 p.m. It finished with a closing ceremony Saturday at 8 a.m.

For Kijowski, it lasted longer. She started setting up for the event Friday about 9:30 a.m. and was helping clean up nearly 24 hours later.

Kelly Scott, the community manager for the American Cancer Society's Washington County chapter, said Friday that 20 teams registered in advance, for a total of 194 people.

The number increased as individuals signed up on the day of the event, Kijowski said.

Tina Dagenhart, who was part of the AIG American General insurance company team, said she stayed for the duration of the relay.

Her office sold food and had a relay team. She was there mainly because cancer has affected her and others she knows.

Of the seven people in her family who died last year, three had cancer.

Dagenhart bought a luminaria to honor a friend who is fighting multiple myeloma, a blood cancer that affects plasma cells.

"I had cervical cancer cells removed in 2000," Dagenhart said. "That was my cancer scare."

Chris Eckenrode, an associate manager at the AIG American General branch in Hagerstown, said a relative in his wife's family died of cancer two years ago.

Eckenrode stayed until 1 a.m., helping at the food booth, then came back at 7:30 a.m., thanks to a nudge from his wife.

With precision, he said Sheetz donated 2,210 hot dogs.

The food booth also sold Pepsi that was donated and, through a raffle, gave away a grill provided by Shawley's LP Gas Co. Inc.

Scott Miller, who was part of the AIG American General team, said people took turns selling, walking and resting.

As he packed up to leave, he said, "It's probably gonna be a nap before bedtime."

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