There were more than 350 people walking the George West High School track until the early hours of Saturday morning, but walking wasn’t the only way locals rallied for Relay.
Toilet seats, head shaving and dunking booths were also a part of the effort.
“This is the most money that has been raised (in George West) in five years,” event coordinator Charlesty Burchfield said.
The local relay’s record of $100,000 was set five years ago, and last year’s was $48,000. Valero was this year’s leading team with $13,498, followed by First National Bank of George West with $7,810 and then George West High School’s Cancer Kicking Cheerleaders team with $5,309.41 as of Monday.
“We’re still waiting on totals for everything, a few checks haven’t come in yet,” Burchfield said. “There are a lot of people involved in making this a success.”
The cheerleading team took a slightly different approach in raising money for the American Cancer Society to help local cancer patients. The ACS uses the funds raised at Relay for Life to help local cancer patients as well as offering preventative screenings.
The cheerleaders chained toilet seats to cars throughout George West for two weeks, and the owners had to pay $20 for them to be removed and could pay $5 extra to have them placed onto another person’s car. This approach brought in a little over $1,000.
But their coach, Elizabeth Ham, made a deal with the girls. If they could raise more than $1,500, she would shave her hair off.
“I’m doing this for cancer awareness, and then the word is getting out in the right form. It’s them working hard and knowing what it’s about.” Ham said. “The community is just awesome in supporting us, and only a couple were upset about the toilet seats.”
The cheer team also held two bake sales which totaled to $1,400.
Ham and her cheerleaders weren’t the only ones to take a nontraditional approach to fundraising at this year’s Relay. George West Superintendent (and cancer survivor) Ty Sparks raised $1,000 by letting students dunk him in a dunking booth.
There were 344 people and 49 cancer survivors signed up to participate in this year’s Relay prior to the event, and Burchfield said more than that showed up. Among those was George West Junior High School eighth-grader Victor Miller, who was crowned Mr. Relay for raising $322 by dressing like a woman while he and 10 other participants gathered donations throughout the night.
“I would like to send a big thank you to the community; we couldn’t have done it without them,” Burchfield said.