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Relay for Life remains area pacesetter

Relay for Life, held at Lakeland High School this past weekend, was named the American Cancer Society Pacesetter for the second year in a row and earned the All-American title. The 24-hour event raises cancer awareness and research funds, along with honoring cancer survivors and those lost to cancer.

    Relay raised $52,000 this year for the American Cancer Society (ACS), beating last year’s record of just over $50,000 and exceeding the year’s fundraising goal by $2,000.

    Melissa Stevens, a representative for ACS in Northeast Indiana, was impressed with everyone involved in this year’s Relay. “It is so good to see a community come together to support something so huge,” she said. Stevens was pleased that over 90 cancer survivors had checked in before 4 p.m., and the numbers continued to climb throughout the afternoon.

Relay for Life held ceremonies and activities all day to raise awareness about cancer detection, prevention, and the necessity of research, including the survivor lap around the track at 9 a.m. and a sun protection relay race in the heat of midday.

Thirty-two fundraising teams participated in Relay for Life this year, many of them new. The top local team, the “Dauntless Dozen,” led by Cindy Walter and Staci Grossman, had reached their $6,000 mark by mid-afternoon, and they exceeded this goal by nearly $1,000 by the event’s end on Sunday morning.

 The American Cancer Society celebrated its 100th anniversary this year, and Relay celebrated its 28th year. Although Relay for Life has been around in LaGrange County for just 11 years, dedicated people have been involved with every step.

Shanan Staten, co-chair for the LaGrange County Relay for Life, has been involved in all of these 11 years, and she reported that the 2013 event was even more successful than last year’s. Twelve teams are already signed up for 2014.