0

Time is running out for Gwinnett to keep its Relay crown

File Photo. A longtime Gwinnett Relay team dubbed Mothers and Daughters Against Cancer came to Linda Story, the American Cancer Society's senior income manager, in 2010 with the idea for a "purple glove dance," where all Relayers would don purple latex gloves and learn a simply-choreographed routine to perform together at the fairgrounds.

File Photo. A longtime Gwinnett Relay team dubbed Mothers and Daughters Against Cancer came to Linda Story, the American Cancer Society's senior income manager, in 2010 with the idea for a "purple glove dance," where all Relayers would don purple latex gloves and learn a simply-choreographed routine to perform together at the fairgrounds.

LAWRENCEVILLE — With just less than two months left before deadline, Gwinnett is in danger of being dethroned.

For the last nine years, the county’s Relay for Life has been the top-grossing American Cancer Society fundraiser in the world. This year’s event — which had netted $1.89 million as of Friday — has been a phenomenal success by almost every standard.

It has, however, left Gwinnett County at No. 2. New “rival” Bakersfield, Calif., currently sits poised to overtake Gwinnett’s long-held title, with just more than $2 million net funds raised. With an official deadline on Aug. 31, American Cancer Society officials have started a new fundraising push to help keep Gwinnett’s Relay on top.

ACS senior income manager Linda Story said there’s perfectly good reasoning behind the push.

“I think the reason that we’re so proud of it is because of the message that it sends to our community of survivors, that you live in a community that supports your fight better than anyone else in the world,” she said.

“That’s a lot to be proud of. And I think that’s what our community of Relayers don’t want to let go of.”

A new online team has been set up on the Relay for Life website, dubbed the “$100,000 Club.” The goal is made obvious by the name.

An additional $100,000 or so would push Gwinnett over $2 million — a mark unmatched by any other until Bakersfield did it this time — for the eighth consecutive year. It would potentially put the county back on top as well.

In the recent past, Gwinnett has had no trouble making the $2 million level, eclipsing it by as much as half a million dollars. The floundering economy, Story said, has taken its toll.

“I definitely feel that it has had some impact. Our participant numbers were down this year,” she said. “But we’re very proud of what our Relay teams have done out there in light of the downturn of the economy. Relay is truly a grassroots, community effort.”

The American Cancer Society and the Gwinnett Braves will host their second annual “Paint the Park Purple” event at Coolray field on Aug. 13, with partial proceeds from ticket sales going toward Relay for Life.

Other than that, no additional events are planned to help the event reach its new goal — just the ever-present request to give what you can.

“We just can’t afford to go backwards, and really staying flat is not even acceptable,” Story said. “Because cancer doesn’t rest and we can’t either. It affects so many people that we feel like people are willing to give when they’re asked.”

“And we’re going to keep asking until Aug. 31.”

To donate to the $100,000 Club, visit www.gwinnettrelayforlife.org and click on the “Relay Teams” tab.