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Long County relay breaks goals
MR Relay6
Long County's Relay kicks off Friday with the survivors walk. - photo by Photo by Mike Riddle
The 2007 Long County Relay for Life had to meet a high standard after the  inaugural event last year was named Rookie of the Year by the American Cancer Society.
But this past weekend, Long County exceeded all goals, including the monetary one, by raising more than $31,000 — $3,000 more than organizers hoped to garner.
Bill Siets, who beat prostate cancer in 2001 and is now battling skin cancer, said, “It is good to see the community come out and support the cause of curing cancer. It’s a tough disease on both those who have it and their families.”
This year’s Relay had 14 teams raise money for the cause, more than $6,600 in corporate sponsorships and one Corporate Presenting Partner — Beatie Animal Clinic.
The event kicked off Fridaywith the Survivors’ Walk, which had 50 participants.  
Some survivors walked the track, while others had assistance from caregivers. All of those who participated in the first lap received a standing ovation from the crowd.
Other activities included the kids’ zone, horseshoes, a beauty pageant,and a Hula-Hoop contest.
There also was a smorgasbord of food to choose from, with sausage dogs, fried fish, steak sandwiches, Brunswick stew and just about anything else anyone could want.
The county, which has a population of just over 10,000 including the city of Ludowici that has about 1,500, had more than 500 people take part in the overnight event.
Survivors’ Committee Chairwoman Lillian Simmons said, “It is a great event, and the participation from the community has been just wonderful.”
Even though there were many joyous moments during the relay, there were also tears.
 One of the more solemn times was the reading of the names of those who had succumbed to cancer.
While the track was lighted by luminary candles, the names of fallen cancer victims and those who were now battling the disease were read to a hushed crowd, bringing home the real reason for the night.
2006-07 Relay Chairwoman Cynthia Foster said, “I want to thank each and every person, who has been a part of this event over the last two years.  Even though I’m giving up being the chairman, I know the people in this area will continue to support the Long County Relay for Life.”
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