W - 5-3-13Relay 022 copyAlachua and High Springs were represented by 16 teams in this year’s Relay for Life which took place at the High Springs Civic Center over an 18-hour period.

HIGH SPRINGS – The Alachua/High Springs Relay for Life event carried on as planned Friday and Saturday, May 3-4, 2013, at the Civic Center in High Springs, despite inclement weather.

While a total of funds raised throughout the event were not available as of press time, American Cancer Society Community Representative and staff partner for the event, Lacey Duncan, said, “We have received more than $28,000 so far and we are expecting even more money to come in from committed sponsorships, as well as teams who have not turned in all of their fundraising money yet.”

Duncan believes the event will easily meet this year’s goal of $29,000. “The weather did not stop us from having a successful Relay because we should meet and likely exceed the event’s goal this year,” she said.

Sixteen teams from Alachua and High Springs raised funds and walked in the 18-hour Relay for Life event this year. Teams sold burritos, nachos and cheese, and other traditional Mexican dishes to raise money because the Relay took place during Cinco de Mayo weekend. “This was my first year as an American Cancer Society Staff Partner and I was greatly encouraged to see the large amount of community involvement and participation,” said Duncan. She also explained that the number of participating teams exceeded last year’s 12 teams and the total funds raised in 2012 were $21,000.

Relay for Life teams from Alachua and High Springs walked throughout the night until dawn to symbolize how cancer patients have to go through the dark times to get back into the light of their lives. “Cancer never sleeps, so participants are willing to sacrifice a night of sleep to help cancer research,” said Sharon Kantor, the Relay for Life Event Chair.

Duncan remarked that the community support and involvement was tremendous this year. “The committee and both communities have really challenged themselves in this year’s event and many local restaurants have offered their venues to host fundraisers.” Among others, Duncan mentioned the Pink and Purple event on the patio of The Great Outdoors restaurant and fundraising conducted by The Springs Diner in High Springs and Crispers in Gainesville. “They were a tremendous help,” she said and they were only a few of the businesses that participated according to Duncan.

“It was a great experience this year to have both city mayors participate so fully,” said Duncan. They both, along with other city dignitaries, participated in the Pink and Purple event as bartenders. Alachua Mayor Gib Coerper led the Boy Scouts and others in the pledge of allegiance the night of the relay and High Springs Mayor Sue Weller addressed the crowd the same night thanking everyone for contributing from their hearts and being there to show support to those who are currently fighting cancer, and their caretakers, and also those who have survived cancer. Weller said, “We know that one day we will solve the mystery of cancer and we will not have to face this disease any longer.”

Both mayors also walked and some teams “relayed in the rain,” said Duncan. “The funds raised will make a lot of difference in the fight against cancer,” she said. “This was an important fundraiser and a very successful event.”

All of the money raised by Relay for Life goes to the American Cancer Society. “From there we are able to continue research and provide support to cancer patients throughout the country,” said Duncan.

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