Monroe County Relay for Life marches for cure, raises nearly $20,000

The Monroe County Courthouse Square was busy with walkers and festivities Saturday night at the annual Relay for Life of Monroe County community event. The signature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society raised a total of $19,500 with 10 teams, approximately 110 registered survivors, 95 participants, and numerous community members.

“It was very hot, but it went really well,” said Community Manager Kathryn McDaniel. “Everyone that came out had a great time.”McDaniel works for the American Cancer Society and oversees Monroe and five other counties.

The event kicked off at 4:00 p.m. and lasted through midnight with booths and games provided by the teams, entertainment and a silent auction. This year’s theme was “Hunting a Cure.”

The national anthem was sung by Bryanna Conboy and Blake Totten from Shelbina took the stage as the main performer.

The Sugar Shakers provided a bounce house and face painting, you could pie someone in the face at the Monroe Manor S.O.A.R. booth, “Gabbie” Gail’s Design had jewelry for purchase, and the SBC Hens & Chickens (Stoutsville Baptist Church) came equipped with a freezer and frozen treats. Other teams and booths included St. Francis Cabrini, Granville Christian Church, Grandma’s Workers, The Paris National Bank, Monroe County Cancer Supporters, and First Christian Church. All the teams’ proceeds went directly to the American Cancer Society.

Just a few of the games available to play at Relay for Life. Photo from the Relay for Life of Monroe County Facebook page.

“One of our great supporters, Verna Spangler, always says, ‘we are raising money for research and I don’t care if the research happens here, but I want it to be my dollar that finds the cure,'” quoted McDaniel. McDaniel explained that the American Cancer Society does everything from educate to funding research. To date, the organization has helped to develop everyday screenings such as mammograms, pap-smears, and vaccines to prevent HPV (which can develop into cervical cancer).

Opening ceremony started at 6:00 p.m. with a special dedication to Joanne Bonney for her years of service to Relay for Life. The survivors then took the first lap around the courthouse, families and caregivers joining them in the second lap. “You see the families join and that is when we know that cancer is a community disease that we are fighting,” said McDaniel.

McDaniel, like many in this community, has had very personal experiences with cancer. Her sister was diagnosed with the disease in 1972 and her husband passed away in 2006 after receiving a devastating Stage 4 diagnosis. However, she believes her husband would be proud of how she has handled the situation.

“You can take a loss and do something good about it. I think so many people say, ‘this has happened to us, we have cancer, and we are powerless,’” said McDonald. “But Relay for Life gives them that power back because we can do something about this.  You can make a difference.”

Rosann Raines, the event lead for the relay, was pleased with the event. “Bravo to Monroe County for pulling together for such a great event and great cause.”

Last but not least, McDaniel wanted to thank the Monroe County Cancer Supporters for all their hard work in the community. “Monroe County Cancer Supporters has such a positive relationship with Relay for Life because we work together and realize that we are better together. We use them as a model for other communities that are looking to start that kind of program.” The program directly aids Monroe County residents and their families who have been diagnosed with cancer.

For more information regarding the American Cancer Society or general information about the disease, you can visit their website or call their informational hotline at 1-800-227-2345.  If you would like to make a general donation to the American Cancer Society, according to their website, donations will be matched dollar-for-dollar between now and June 30th.

For information regarding the Relay for Life of Monroe County, you can like them on Facebook or email McDaniel at
*Photos from the Relay for Life of Monroe County Facebook page.