The American Cancer Society received $62,768.94 from the Walgreens Distribution Center on U.S. Highway 287 last week, money that will go toward assisting local cancer patients and survivors.

“It’s really an honor that you did this for us,” Christina Zitaglio, the community manager for the Dallas/Fort Worth area, told the activities committee that presented the check. “Without businesses that partner with us, we wouldn’t be able to get our job done.”

All money will stay local, Zitaglio said.

“Some will go toward patient services in the community, some will go to research that gets done in the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” she said, and funds will also go toward advocacy, education and community awareness of early detection.

Cheryll Pearson, human resource generalist at the center, said the activity committee picks a local charity every year to raise money for.

“We have cancer survivors in the distribution center,” she said, noting this gave this year’s choice a personal touch. “We had a lot of fun doing this.”

Mary Ruth Mitchell, event chairman for Ellis County Relay for Life, was on hand at the presentation to show her appreciation.

“I’m a survivor,” she said to the gathering. “Thank you so much.”

Pearson said Walgreens Distribution Center will raise funds for Good Will of Dallas for the coming year.

Walgreens employees’ donation continues the generosity of Ellis County toward the American Cancer Society, which raised $425,083 through Relay for Life in Maypearl and community events in Midlothian and Ennis.

Looking back on this year’s fund-raiser, Mitchell said she was proud of all of the teams and sponsors who participated.

“Without your continued support it would be impossible for us to do our part to help aid the American Cancer Society in their fight against cancer,” she said. “My deepest gratitude also to the 50 team captains and their team members who worked so diligently this year and to our Relay committee members who donated many, many hours of their time to make this a special event.”

As a survivor, the event carries special meaning for Mitchell.

“As I think back over the 2007 Relay for Life Event in Maypearl, one of the most meaningful moments was during our opening ceremony when I looked out at our audience and was able to enjoy the smiling faces of approximately 125 cancer survivors,” she said. “This is what Relay for Life is all about: Saving lives and changing the future.”

Mitchell said plans are under way to return to the Maypearl High School football stadium for the 2008 Ellis County Relay for Life. More information on volunteering is available at (972) 938-8559.

The American Cancer Society is a health organization that seeks to reduce cancer deaths and suffering through research, education, service and advocacy.

More information is available at www.cancer.org.

E-mail Kelsie at kelsie.hahn@waxahachiedailylight.com