After amassing a total of $188,000 for the 2005 Lincolnton Relay for Life, captains of the eventâ€™s 50 teams had reason to celebrate.
â€œDo we know how to Relay or what?â€ said John Dancoff, co-chair of the event, at a celebration held Tuesday night at the Lincoln Senior Center.
The Lincolnton Relay raised $150,000 last year, which was enough to get national recognition.
The total per capita earnings rose this year from $515 to $541, which Dancoff estimates will be among the highest in the nation.
Even with big expectations, the $188,000 total came as a surprise.
â€œWith the way the economy is this year, with gas prices sky high, people just donâ€™t have the discretionary income they had,â€ said Susan Beaver, co-chair of the Lincolnton event.
Despite money being tight, raising the funds was not difficult.
â€œItâ€™s got to be coming from the heart,â€ said Beaver.
Some of the most impressive fund raisers this year were schools. Those participating brought in a total of $40,000.
The money came from pig kissings, sweet sales, raffles, auctions, hat and gum days and penny wars.
Union Elementary School, for example, raised $5,000 simply from a penny war.
â€œIt was just a four-day week,â€ said Terri Salmon, the team captain. â€œWe were amazed.â€
Other big earners included R-Anell Homes and Salem Lutheran Church.
Both organization attributed personal connections to their success.
â€œEverybody is touched by cancer,â€ said Susan Harris, team captain for Salem Lutheran Church.
That includes both fund raisers and donators.
â€œWhenever Iâ€™m out there begging for team dollars, it just comes easier when you know people who had it,â€ said David Beaver, co-captain of R-Anellâ€™s team.
For Harris, that personal connection is her father, who died of cancer.
â€œThatâ€™s my reason why I Relay,â€ she said. â€œThatâ€™s why Iâ€™m dedicated.â€
At Tuesday nightâ€™s celebration, team captains were awarded for their work, but thoughts moved quickly to next year. A lofty goal of $206,000 has already been set.
Fund raisers will take the same approach they did for the 2005 fund raiser.
â€œAll we do is put on a good Relay,â€ said Dancoff. â€œWe wonâ€™t worry. The money will come.â€
by Sarah Grano