Million dollar county
Dixie Conrad, a volunteer for the annual Washington County Relay for Life, made it official Thursday evening when she announced that since the event’s inception in 2000, over $1 million has been raised to fight cancer.
Just before the Washington Municipal Band was scheduled to begin playing, a group of organizers from Washington County Relay for Life lined up in front of the stage. Conrad and Kierstan Peck of the American Cancer Society of Southeast Iowa took the stage to make the announcement that the goal of reaching $97,000 this year and making a total of $1 million for the 13 years Relay for Life has been held in Washington County, had been met.
“Thousands of residents have formed teams and covered countless miles raising awareness and money,” Conrad said. “In fact since the first Relay for Life event, we have come together to raise over $1 million.”
The announcement was met with a standing ovation from both the band members who were set up on the stage behind Conrad and Peck and the audience that had gathered in Central Park for the concert.
Peck said that reaching the goal this year was appropriate, as 2013 is the 100th birthday of the American Cancer Society. She said that 100 years ago the word “cancer” was only spoken in whispers, as little could be done. Since then, she said, people have learned that change is made when people speak out and take action. Conrad said that millions of people are alive today and countless others have avoided cancer because of the progress that is being made.
During the Relay event, which was held June 15, over 292 people and 19 teams participated.
After the announcement was over, as the band began playing, Peck said that the money raised supports patient programs and services of the American Cancer Society. She said an example is the Hope Lodge in Iowa City, where cancer patients can stay for free while receiving treatment. Another program Peck mentioned is the research program. Peck said about $7 million in cancer research is being done at the University of Iowa alone.
“It is really exciting that the Relay for Life committee has raised $1 million over the past 13 years,” Peck said. “I am very proud of the committee for all their hard work and of the community for supporting a great cause.”
Jeanie Davis, chair of the Relay for Life committee this year, said that she believes that it will only take half the time for Washington County to raise its next $1 million. She said that she became involved because she has lost many friends and family members to cancer. She began by walking on a team, before becoming interested in serving on the committee.
While not being chair next year, Davis said she plans to continue serving on the committee.