Why Beaufort County ‘Relays’

Published 9:04 pm Monday, January 5, 2015

Relay for Life begins with the Survivors Lap.

Relay for Life begins with the Survivors Lap.


Soon spring will be here, and for many organizations that means time for fundraising. One of the most notable initiatives for spring is Beaufort County’s Relay for Life chapter. The chapter has grown significantly over the past decade or more and continues to raise money for cancer research pretty much year-round.

With this year’s theme dubbed “Rockin’ it Out For a Cure,” Dawn Johnston, chairperson for Relay For Life, as well as her fellow event leads, Carol West and Sonya Fortescue, really live up to that. The chapter hosts meetings each month leading up to the event, and at its first meeting of the year, the three leads came out to greet area Relay teams with high energy, dancing and singing to the tune of “We Will Rock You,” by Queen. The act got everyone at the meeting pumped up and excited about this year’s event, and based on prior meetings and events, the three were in normal Relay character. During last year’s Relay For Life, Johnston, West and Fortescue asked everyone in attendance to gather around for the closing ceremonies. After everyone was huddled around the three, listening intently, silly string was sprayed everywhere, surprising many of the team members. That was a special time for participants and everyone else involved.

Cancer is serious. And, in turn, so is Relay For Life, but its local chapter not only gets the community pumped up about raising money for cancer research, but also makes it fun for everyone — not to mention the three spend countless hours and energy to network, get people registered to participate and stay involved with each and every one of the teams.

The Beaufort County chapter of Relay For Life raised just over $126,000 last year. That is a pretty significant amount for the County of Beaufort — a tier one county. Relay For Life in Beaufort County is a big deal, not only to survivors of cancer and those who are currently battling it, but also to those who have lost loved ones to cancer. That is why Beaufort County Relays, according to Johnston.

What Johnston and her team does is invaluable to those battling, those who have survived and those who have lost loved ones to cancer. It provides hope for cancer research and those affected.

This year, Relay For Life will be held on May 1 and May 2 at Washington High School. It would be great if the entire community came out to do its part and helped Beaufort County beat last year’s monetary contribution, as well as the number of cancer survivors registered to participate.

Anyone interested in volunteering, starting a team or for more information about 2015 Beaufort County Relay For Life, contact Dawn Johnston at 252-943-5061 or dawnjohnston27817@gmail.com, Carol West at 252-944-3814 orcarol_boyd_west@yahoo.com or Sonya Fortescue at 252-945-1501 orspmfort03@hotmail.com. For more information about the “Road to Recovery” program, visit www.volunteertodrive.org or contact Denise Hockaday, ACS staff partner, at 252-695-9054 or denise.hockaday@cancer.org.