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‘Relay’ raises record sum

By Terri Rorke
Photo Editor

Scotland County’s Relay For Life event, held at Scotland High School’s Pate Stadium in Laurinburg, Sept. 8 - 9, proved to be its most rewarding year in the fight against cancer.        

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More than 7,000 participants helped the county raise $276,356 for the American Cancer Society.

UNCP’s School of Business professor and Relay For Life event co-Chairman, W. Stewart Thomas, helped pioneer the county’s Relay For Life in 1997.            

He said this year’s success can be attributed to the hard work and dedication of the 16 committees and 39 teams that helped raise the money.

Corporate sponsors

Thomas said 49 Scotland County corporate sponsors together raised $90,000 of the total sum.

The sun over the Pacific Ocean from Kuata, an island in Fiji.

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According to the Relay For Life website,, the overnight event was created to help increase the awareness of cancer and raise more donations for research.

Participating teams take turns walking around the track, while trying to “keep at least one team member on the track at all times.”

Cancer survivors            

About 375 cancer survivors walked Scotland County’s first lap of the 24-hour long walk Sept. 8.

Thomas said he decided to organize the Relay For Life event in honor of his mother, a cancer victim who passed away in 2001.           

His dedication to set up the event proved to be beneficial for the whole cancer community.

The sun over the Pacific Ocean from Kuata, an island in Fiji.

Click to enlarge

"Over the past 10 years, we raised over $1.9 million.  All of that goes to the American Cancer Society,” said Thomas.

“To have an event that lasts 24 hours, is a huge huge task,” said Thomas.               

The U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team helped kick off the event by parachuting into the stadium.

The event also included various music, food stands and at least 1,000 white bags.

These bags, which were sold as a fundraiser, included a name of a cancer victim and a candle inside.                   

They lined either side of the track and also were formed to spell out “HOPE,” “CURE,” and “LOVE.” Additional bags formed a heart shape.                              

The sun over the Pacific Ocean from Kuata, an island in Fiji.

Click to enlarge

These paper bags provided the only illumination for the walkers throughout the night.            

“The Relay For Life’s goals are simple,” said Thomas.

Three goals

“The first goal is to celebrate cancer survivorship. The second is to heighten the awareness of cancer in the community and the third goal is to raise research funds for the American Cancer Society.”            

Thomas also has some other goals in mind. He is the faculty adviser for the newly formed Ruritan club at UNCP, which participated in the Relay For Life event.

New club

The club, which is a civic service organization, is also considering organizing a Relay For Life event on campus.           

If you are interested in joining UNCP’s new Ruritan club, contact the Ruritan recruitment Chair, Neil Guin at or Ruritan club President, Tim Kang at

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Updated: Tuesday, September 19, 2006
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