A team of survivorsPublished 10:14pm Saturday, May 3, 2014
From the beginning, Team Riverfront let folks know it was a force to be reckoned with.
In its rookie year participating in the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life, the team of folks from the North Suffolk neighborhood and their supporters and friends came within $10 or $20 of beating the top-fundraising team, the city of Suffolk team.
The same thing happened last year, and the team aims to come out on top this year.
But “it’s really not about that,” said Barbara Melton, one of many cancer survivors on the survivor-heavy team. “The whole thing is about raising money and awareness for American Cancer Society.”
Melton was going through cancer treatment in 2012, the first year of the team’s participation. At the time, a friend of hers also had another friend going through treatment.
“I think she just felt like she needed to do something,” Melton said. “She established Team Riverfront. Many of my neighbors and friends jumped right on the bandwagon, and we’ve been a force to be reckoned with ever since.”
That first year, Melton couldn’t do much more than sit at her computer and send out emails asking for support. But she still raised about $6,100.
She said most of her personal fundraising came from friends, family and colleagues. She said the keys to personal fundraising are utilizing and personalizing the online fundraising pages, sharing personal stories and following up with people personally.
“One of the more important things is to follow up,” she said. “(The amount of email) is overwhelming sometimes, and everyone’s busy.”
The team also holds a big fundraising event every year. This year’s was a Mardi Gras charity gala.
“The treatment was brutal, but I got through it and got to the other side,” Melton said. “It’s my responsibility to pay it forward.”
The Relay For Life of Suffolk will be held May 16-17 at Bennett’s Creek Park. Visit www.relayforlife.org/suffolkva.