Relay for Life raises $120,314

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Mollie Patricia Blythe, from left, Mollie Blythe, Clay Blythe, and Pitt Blythe walk the second lap of the 2011 Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life Saturday at Bronco Federal Credit Union in Franklin. -- DALE LIESCH | TIDEWATER NEWS

FRANKLIN—Mike Pollard spent Saturday with “family” at the 2011 Franklin-Southampton Relay for Life at Bronco Federal Credit Union.

At least it felt like family for the eight-year survivor of testicular cancer.

“It’s fantastic,” Pollard said. “It’s kind of like a family feeling. It’s like a support system.”

Twenty-eight teams raised $120,314, falling short of the $128,000 goal, although fundraising continues through August, said chairman Jim Jervey.

“It shows how many of us have been touched by this disease,” Jervey said. “It affects us all.”

Pollard said the support strengthens those impacted by the disease.

“You realize you’re not the only one to go through it,” he said.

A record 275 survivors and caregivers attended a Friday night kickoff dinner at the Regional Development Workforce Center at Paul D. Camp Community College. Saturday’s survivors’ walk included 100 people.

“We’ve been doing this for 17 years now, and it gets bigger each year,” said relay committee member Jack Norvell. “We’ve got a good group this year.”

Shirley Williams, a 19-year survivor of breast cancer, said she tries to walk the first lap every year.

“My walking knees are not that good now, but I make it halfway,” she said.

Ernest Claud, a member of the Pleasant Plains Baptist Church Relay team and a five-year survivor of prostate cancer, said it was good to see people giving to the cause in tough economic times.

“I think interest is there,” Claud said. “Even though the economy has changed, it’s still great to see people giving.”

The theme of this year’s event was “Happy Feet Dancing for a Cure.” Attendees participated in dances, including the cha cha slide, cupid shuffle, electric slide, the Macarena and line dancing.

“We had lots of opportunities for people to dance,” said committee member Kathy Worrell.

Members of Franklin’s Boy Scout Troop 17 laid out luminaries throughout the morning for Saturday evening’s ceremony to honor those lost to cancer.