The third time was a charm for Midlothian Relay For Life with more than $138,000 raised to fight cancer.
Perfect weather and perfect planning combined for a perfect Relay For Life fundraiser Friday night at the Walnut Grove Middle School track east of town.
“We actually had three goals,” said Midlothian Relay Co-chairman, Shannon Beaudoin. “We had a team goal of 50 and ended up with 53 teams. We wanted to round up 80 people to walk the Survivor Lap and we had 116. And we set a financial goal of $115,000 and all estimates show we raised $138,000 and I think it could be closer to $140,000 when it’s all over.”
It was the third year Midlothian had hosted it’s own Relay For Life and the second time the event was held at Walnut Grove.
Relay For Life is the signature fundraiser for The American Cancer Society. The occasion originally began in 1985 with only one participant, Dr. Gordy Klatt. Since that time it has grown into a national event that raises millions of dollars for research, treatment and education about cancer.
Beaudoin pointed out Ellis County’s ACS goal was $148,000 this year and Waxahachie has it’s Relay For Life event set to start in a couple of weeks.
Ellis County is one of the top per-capita givers to the American Cancer Society nationwide.
Last year Midlothian Relay For Life had a goal of $85,000 and raised approximately $115,000. Beaudoin said Relay collected $103,000 from corporate sponsors even before Friday’s event got underway.
Midlothian Relay For Life began Friday night with the invocation and the singing of The National Anthem.
Awards were presented to top local sponsors, followed by the survivors lap, team introduction and photos as well as the bandana lap for those team members who raised $100 or more.
Relay is a family oriented, community event. Teams competed in a variety of “fun”-raising events throughout the night. Walkers were on the track earning pledges until the wee hours of the morning.
Teams consisted of from 8 to 15 members and each team paid a registration fee of $100.
Cancer survivors were invited to take the first lap around the track. This event is known as the Survivor’s Lap and is one of the most emotional and thrilling events of Relay. Participants were treated to a reception along with a purple survivor shirt.
“Those purple shirts mean a lot to Relay,” said Beaudoin. “The whole goal of Relay is to beat cancer and those who wear a purple shirt prove to us all that it can be done.
Another top draw for Relay For Life was the barbecue dinner with all the fixins. Cooks manned the grill and tables to serve up food. All proceeds went directly to fighting cancer.
The evening’s entertainment featured live music, DJ’s, karoke contests and oversized bounce houses for the kids.
Luminarias are another Relay For Life trademark ceremony and Relay saw more than 6,400 candles placed in a white bag with the name of a cancer sufferer written on the outside
“We estimated we had a crowd of about 4,000,” said Beaudoin. “We will start planning next year’s event at a meeting at the end of this month.”
Beaudoin thanked the committee members who handled a variety of tasks and the volunteers who headed up teams.
“The City of Midlothian and the Midlothian Independent School District went out of their way to help us,” said Beaudoin. “I also want to thank Dr. Felty for letting us turn his office into Relay Headquarters for the past two months.”
Beaudoin said there are still few loose ends to tie up and she urged anyone still wanting to donate or wanting to get involved in next year’s event to call her at (972) 723.2407.