"Summer is our slower time. So now that people are geared up to go back for school and Relay is suddenly within sight, the excitement is building," said Gretchen Barkley, American Cancer Society's northwest Georgia senior community manager. "We had a terrific meeting about a week ago for our teams. We just had really great energy there and a lot of new faces.
"They're just really excited. One of the things that we did also is we made a video with Bartow County people and it was just called 'Three Little Words,' and each of the volunteers all without saying anything just held a sign that expressed why they Relay, whether it's for a family member or for themselves or just to end the disease."
In its 19th year in Cartersville, the ACS's Sept. 7 benefit is trying to recruit 119 teams and raise $319,000. The overnight event in which team members will take turns walking around Cartersville's Dellinger Park track will culminate months of fundraising by participants. Last year, 106 teams generated $272,000 for the American Cancer Society, which provides information, offers programs to patients, and funds research for cancer treatments and cures.
"[Proceeds will go] toward research so we can truly find a cure to this disease but we also have local programs, like Look Good...Feel Better, which is a free makeover for women that are going through cancer treatment," Barkley said. "We have Road to Recovery, which is a [program where] we have volunteers who can take patients to and from their doctors' visits [during their journey] with cancer, whether it's treatment or a doctor's office [appointment].
"We have support groups and we also have 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week of ... support, whether it's information about cancer or just learning more about the disease or resources that are available in their community. If they want to talk to somebody else that is going through cancer, we can connect them with that. ... There is just a lot of different resources that are available that are free to anybody going through cancer."
Posted on www.bartowrelayforlife.org, fundraisers run the gamut, from raffles to athletic competitions. Among the plethora of benefits is the Relay Ride for Life on Aug. 25. Presented by the Cartersville Medical Center, the motorcycle ride will depart from The Hope Center at 9 a.m. Entry fees, which are $25 per motorcycle, can be placed by calling MedLine at 800-242-5662.
"There's a lot of folks who enjoy riding motorcycles," said CMC Administrative Director Jeff Barwick, adding Barbara Belew spearheaded the event several years ago. "And when someone can enjoy riding their motorcycle and at the same time participate in a fundraising activity that will benefit other people, it just makes it an even more worthwhile activity to be engaged with. You go have fun, you raise money for other people and you're doing something good."
For more information about Relay for Life, to register a team or view fundraisers, visit www.bartowrelayforlife.org or call Barkley at 770-429-1624.