Saturday’s Marion County Relay for Life raised $22,526 to fund cancer research, provide transportation and lodging for cancer patients who must travel for treatment, teach beauty techniques to female cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation, and connect breast cancer patients with others who have been there before.
Cindy Griffitts, Marion, participates in Relay for Life every year. She was on the Fighting Wisteria team, whose theme was “color your world purple.”
“My stepdad, biological dad, and mother just recently passed away from cancer,” Griffitts said. “They went through lots of pain. That’s mostly what they went through was lots of pain.”
Her mother didn’t find out she had cancer until she went to a hospital for what she thought was a gall bladder attack.
“They found it was cancer,” Griffitts said. “She died the next Wednesday. It was really traumatic for us all, she never left the hospital.”
Her advice for other families who learn someone has cancer is to focus on being there for them.
“Be there, do a lot of praying and help each other out,” Griffitts said. “Participate and help out as much as you can. We’ve got to get this cancer cured. We’ve got to get it taken care of. Try and encourage people, and join in.”
According to Amy Plett, accountant for the relay, the largest of the 12 teams, Surviving Angels and Helpers, with 20 members led by Margie Sandwell, raised the largest contribution at $6,055.
The other 11 teams ranged from one to 16 members.
The 16-member Busy Bees team led by Debbie Connor raised $3,243, and the 10-member Burns Pacers team led by Tootsie Snelling raised $1,735.
The top individual fund raiser was Margie Sandwell, who raked in $1,326.
Besides taking pledges and walking the track at Warrior Stadium, teams sold baked goods, bracelets, art, and an assortment of other items, held silent auctions, painted faces, and held raffles.
Marion High School football team spent Saturday morning helping set up for the annual event and Tabor students helped with the 11 p.m. cleanup.
Brent Barkman, Ampride, Carlsons’, and Dale’s Supermarket provided a meal for cancer survivors.
Relay for Life also benefited food banks in the county.
“Luminary bags were weighted down with cans of food donated by various people throughout the county,” Plett said. “At the end of the night these cans of food were boxed up and split four ways for each of the food pantries in the county to have.”