By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Friday night storms washed a pause into Cooke County Relay For Life’s
Leopard Stadium ceremony, but participants declared the event a
More than 400 members of 42 teams took to the stadium track and made
laps as long as possible. Organizers, who cited a current benefit
tally of roughly $73,000 on behalf of the American Cancer Society,
admitted early in the evening they anticipated storms might cause an
All the same, they were enthusiastic about both the turnout and the
profit, an amount that was in keeping with the local ceremony’s
fundraising of more than $1.2 million since 1996.
A year-end total wasn’t available Friday, since funds will continue to
stream in through May.
“Everybody’s been very supportive and we’ve had a lot of community
outreach this year,” said Brandi Adams of the American Cancer Society,
who added that Relay’s shift from Leeper Stadium to Leopard Stadium
gave the event more visibility from the interstate. “We’re doing
really good and I couldn’t be happier. We’re at a new stadium, and I
can’t wait to see what this night holds.”
Organizer Stacy Dickerson said the walkathon’s venue change gave the
Cooke County Relay organization the chance to celebrate Leopard
Stadium itself, which is a relatively new facility.
“We were trying to make a change to get the community pumped up again,
to get a new excitement,” she said. “The facility’s beautiful. We
loved the old facility; it was great. But basically this was just
trying to get something different and something to reinvigorate our
community. And I’m very happy to be a part of a community that comes
out to support as well as ours does.”
Longtime organizer Cherilyn Pollard explained that safeguards were in
place to shelter Relay participants if storms became heavy, which they
briefly did at around 9 p.m. Friday. But the prospect of a shutdown
didn’t stop anyone from showing up.
“Every year, we just seem to get more and more support from the
community,” she said. “The teams have been raising money the entire
year, and most of the funds are in already. And teams still do
fundraisers after the fact, and it’s incredible.”
County Judge John Roane said Friday he was appreciative of what Relay
For Life ultimately does — which is help fund American Cancer Society
research toward cancer treatments, in lieu of actual cures.
“Cancer took my dad 10 years ago and I’m glad that I’ve got the
opportunity to come take part in this,” Roane said Friday night. “I
think everybody would love for there to be a cure for cancer once and
for all. I don’t know if that will ever happen in my lifetime. But I’m
certainly glad that they continue trying, and I know they have made
great strides in the cure.
“So hopefully, one of these days, upcoming generations won’t have to
put up with the same thing that we have.”