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Relay makes move to June

The annual Relay For Life of Unicoi County campaign is officially under way after the organization’s kickoff event, held Jan. 6 at the Clinchfield Senior Adult Center.
In addition to providing information to teams and sponsors, Relay officials also announced at the event a countywide fundraising goal of $100,000 and slated the Relay For Life event for June 3 at the Unicoi County High School track.
While the event is typically held in July, Relay Staff Partner Anthony Piercy explained the earlier date will bolster participation among survivors and others.
“The earlier date was selected because of the heat,” Piercy said. “It will be easier for survivors to attend because it won’t be as hot. We think the earlier date will affect the number of people who come out and participate.”
Piercy also announced that several teams have already signed up in the county, and he expects several more as the weeks progress.
“The kickoff is a time when we let teams and sponsors sign up,” he explained. “People who don’t know a lot about it can come get a feel for the event and decide if they want to start a team or become a sponsor. We had five teams sign up last night, one of them being a new team. By the time of the event, we usually have around 30 teams.”
This year’s goal for Unicoi County is 33 teams, Piercy said, adding that the ACS also hopes to see more youth involvement at this year’s Relay for Life event.
“One of our focuses this year is youth teams,” Piercy said. “We’re trying to recruit teams from the high school and the middle school. There are all sorts of things young people can do to help. They want to be involved, too.”
Michael Baker, a senior at Unicoi County High School, has been named the youth chair of Unicoi County’s campaign. Baker, who has been involved with Relay For Life for three years, said he hopes to get more teens dedicated to finding a cure.
“I want to get middle and high school students more involved with the American Cancer Society,” Baker said. “Also, I would like to see some high school clubs and organizations start an official team.”
Between now and the June 3 event, Relay For Life teams will begin raising money, which will be donated to the American Cancer Society. Piercy said Relay officials hope to have a fundraising idea each month to provide teams with creative, fun ways to raise money.
“As an office, we try to come up with things people can do to raise money,” Piercy said. “We don’t want fundraising to be difficult.”
This month’s Relay For Life fundraiser is the Hope Tote, a thermal tote made by Thirty-One. The tote is 14 inches wide, 10 inches deep and expands to five inches wide and is great for use as a lunchbox or small cooler. The tote is available in the popular Paparazzi Dot print with the word “Hope” embroidered in pink. The tote costs $20 and is can be ordered at The Erwin Record and from other participating teams. The tote is only available through Jan. 24.
For more information on the Relay For Life event, please visit www.relayforlife.org/unicoi, call Piercy at 330-7884 or e-mail him at [email protected]