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Relay aims to top record
Kickoff draws large crowd
Relay WEB
Elsa Lorenzen, center, and sister Makena, right, sign a banner Tuesday during a Relay for Life kickoff dinner. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Want to get involved?

Anyone interested in participating in the 2013 Forsyth County Relay for Life can attend Relay University at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Forsyth County Board of Education Office, 1120 Dahlonega Hwy. More information can also be found online at

About 200 people turned out Tuesday night as the American Cancer Society launched its annual Forsyth Relay for Life at the Lanier Technical College Forsyth Conference Center.

Relay, the society’s largest fundraiser of the year, features communities across the country raising money and awareness for the organization’s efforts to battle cancer.

The local event, which asks participants to walk all night in honor of those who have battled cancer, is set for 6 p.m. May 3 to 6 a.m. May 4 at the Cumming Fairgrounds.

Amanda Ryan, volunteer co-chair of the local organizing committee, said the kickoff event Tuesday “was wonderful.”

“We had a huge crowd, a record crowd for kickoff for Forsyth,” Ryan said. “We had to bring in extra tables and chairs, so we were excited … that’s a great problem to have.”

Last year’s Relay was a record breaker, with about 3,000 people raising some $309,000. This year’s fundraising goal has been set at $315,000, Ryan said.

“This year’s goal is a definite increase from the goal last year, but it’s an attainable goal for sure,” Ryan said. “We’re hoping to reach that … and blow it out of the water.”

During the kickoff, Relay participants learned more about the event and what benefits their efforts can have.

The featured speaker was physician William Phelps from the American Cancer Society. Other speakers included cancer survivor Maggie Paoletti and the 2013 community leader, Shawn Lovejoy.

“We have the biggest goal we’ve ever had,” Ryan said. “It’s not too far from what we actually made last year, but we had such a record-breaking year last year to set a goal higher than that was a little nerve-racking.”

Ryan said anyone interested in participating in this year’s local Relay for Life is invited to attend an information session, called Relay University, at 5:30 p.m. Jan. 29 in the Forsyth County Board of Education Office on Dahlonega Hwy.

“Anybody is welcome and we’ll all be there and excited to see them,” she said, adding that participation in the relay is always a memorable experience.

“It’s a very cool experience to be in a room where everybody shares such a common mission. There aren’t many places you can go and have that experience.”