The Jackson County Relay for Life raised and estimated $4100 during their annual "Relay Madness" event Thursday at the Family Life Center in Newport.
The event works by having participants agree to shoot 50 free throws and get sponsors to donate a certain amount for each shot they make. The shooter then receives a form verifying how many free throws they made to show sponsors when they go to collect their pledges. "It's fun and a little different than your regular fundraiser," said Jackie Wallis, Community Representative of this territory for the American Cancer Society. "There's no expenses involved, and we would like to thank the First Baptist Church for allowing us to come here again this year." Wallis, whose territory consist of Clay, Craighead, Greene, Jackson, Randolph, Poinsett and Lawrence counties, says they do this event in all counties of the territory and it has paid dividends. "This is something that we want to catch on in other parts of the states," says Wallis. "Right now we just do it in my territory. Last year the total that was raised in this event in all counties totaled up to $19,000 just in shooting free throws." Overall Wallis says that Jackson County, and the territory as a whole, has been a top tier Relay team in the fight against cancer. "Three years in a row our territory has went over our income goal as a whole and Jackson County has been over their income goal county wide the last three years as well," said Wallis. "Also, we just learned about a month or so ago that Jackson County is the fastest growing relay (team) in Arkansas based on the numbers from 2008-2012." According to Wallis, Jackson County is the eight fastest growing Relay team in the Mid-South division, which consist of six states. The Jackson County Relay for life has a few more fundraisers set to happen in the coming weeks. On April 4 they will hold their Karaoke night at the Silver Moon leading up to the annual Relay for Life event on April 12 which takes place in the old Newport Hospital parking lot. "We really want to encourage people to come out to the Really on April 12," said Wallis. "They don't have to be part of a team to come out. Our teams will be set up and we ask the community to come out and enjoy the activities, the entertainment and just come out and eat supper. A lot of the teams will be serving food and all the money we raise will go towards the Relay and the American Cancer Society. " Wallis was quick to thank everybody who participated in this years "Relay Madness" event and would like to encourage others to get involved. "Thanks to everybody that came out to this event," said Wallis. "If you want to get involved it's never to late to have a team. We've had teams in other counties that they have formed a team two weeks before the Relay and still raise two or three thousand dollars in those two weeks." He continues, "Any amount of money can help. There is no set minimum and there is certainly not a maximum. The money raised with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life is used for education, research, advocacy and patient services. Relay for Life serves to increase awareness, recognize and celebrate survivors and caregivers, remember loved ones lost and encourage involvement in the fight against cancer. "If everybody in Jackson County Donated a penny a day for a for a year we would be over $65,000, going by the 2010 census, and in the state of Arkansas in a years time if everybody did that, we would raise 10,660,000 and last year we raised 4.3 million," said Wallis. "If we can just get everybody to do a little, it doesn't take people doing a lot it just takes a lot of people doing a little, and we could raise two-and-a-half times more this year than we did last year, if everybody just donated 1 penny a day for a year, $3.65. Thats the biggest difference we could make in the lives of our cancer patients and that's what it's all about, it's about our cancer patients. We love our activities and we want to have fun while we do it, but we don't want to forget what were doing it for. For more information about Relay for life and upcoming events contact Jackie Wallis, American Cancer Society Community Representative, by phone at (870) 932-0790 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.