Relay for Life fund-raising closes at record $2.4 million

KEN SUGIURA
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, September 2, 2006

Bake sales, raffles, carnivals and a 24-hour walkathon turned into another record-breaking year for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Gwinnett County.

With the closing of its books on Thursday, the society tabulated $2.4 million, $150,000 more than its goal. No other Relay for Life in the world — and there are about 4,000 — raised more money.

"We just can't thank the community enough," said society area manager Randy Redner. "Nobody else does it like the Gwinnett community."

The Gwinnett relay, held May 12-13 at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds in Lawrenceville, retained its title as the society's leading relay fund-raiser for the fifth straight year. The second-highest total raised was about $1.3 million, Redner said. In the Gwinnett relay's 13 years, it has raised $17 million.

The Gwinnett relay received its biggest contributions from two companies, Scientific-Atlanta and Primerica, and Norcross High School.

The three raised about $359,000.

Teams representing churches, schools, neighborhoods and companies used all means to raise money.

At Norcross, in addition to traditional letter-writing campaigns, students held a carnival, a carwash and collected change, among other things. Then-principal Mary Anne Charron offered teachers two weeks of casual dress if they donated a certain amount, which they did.

"Teachers, when they can wear jeans, are positive about anything," said Norcross teacher and relay team co­captain Kirsten Mixter.

One teacher promised to shave her head if she received $2,000 in donations. She received $3,500, Mixter said.

Money raised by the American Cancer Society goes to research, education, services and public policy.