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Relay for Life sees another record year

LAWRENCEVILLE - The results won't be final until August, but this year's Gwinnett Relay for Life fundraiser has already broken previous records.

As of Monday afternoon, the annual American Cancer Society fundraiser had brought in a total of $2,225,529, said American Cancer Society area director Randy Redner. That number already surpasses last year's final total of $2,217,000.

"We are expecting to hit $2.4 million," Redner said. "Any way we can measure it, we had a record year."

The goal for this year's fundraiser was $2.5 million.

In the past, an additional couple hundred thousand dollars has been raised in the months following the Relay event, Redner said. Many companies have vowed to match the funds raised by employees, and individual donors can still contribute money via the Gwinnett Relay for Life Web site through August.

More than 8,500 people signed up online for this year's Relay, held Friday and Saturday at the Gwinnett County Fairgrounds. Past experience has shown that those registered participants sometimes bring along a friend or two, Redner said.

"We know we are well over 10,000 participants, but who knows how many for sure?" Redner said. "We're still calculating the number of survivors, but we are very close to the 2,000 survivor goal we set for ourselves."

Redner praised three teams specifically for their outstanding fundraising efforts. Scientific-Atlanta, for years a top team, brought in $120,000 - a $20,000 increase over last year's total. Primerica showed an even bigger jump; the company also raised $120,000, in contrast with the $65,000 raised last year. The two companies were named co-corporate champions, Redner said.

"Between those two, we've never seen anything like that," he said.

And this year's top school, Norcross High School, broke records again with its $112,000 donation.

To make a donation to Gwinnett's Relay for Life fundraiser, call the local American Cancer Society office at 770-814-0123 or visit www.gwinnettrelayforlife.org.