Looking for generosity

Published 9:12 pm Monday, March 5, 2012

In a city with a plethora of worthy fundraising events, one of them stands out each year.

The Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life is one of the biggest annual fundraising events in the city, in terms of both participation and dollars raised.

Each year, more than 3.5 million people around the nation get together for a night of walking, remembering, honoring and even competing, all in the name of raising money to help in the fight against cancer. Suffolk’s Relay is one of 5,000 similar events held around the U.S. and in 20 other nations around the world.


Email newsletter signup

Last year, the Rockin’ Relay raised more than $200,000 for the American Cancer Society, beating the local goal. This year, organizers say, volunteers already have secured nearly $21,000 in pledges. That leaves a long way to go before the May 18 and 19 event.

But we expect Suffolk will turn out to support this year’s Relay as it has so many in the past. And organizers have made a special effort to connect with the community this year, having put a Suffolkian in the position of American Cancer Society community manager for Suffolk and Portsmouth.

Angela Francis, a 2002 graduate of Lakeland High School, has some good reasons to feel connected not just to the community but also to the Relay’s cause. Her grandfather, Suffolk native David Francis, lost a battle against leukemia last year. And a high school friend whose brain cancer 15 years ago inspired Francis to start her first Relay team continues to serve as an inspiration and reminder to her that cancer can be survivable.

As the staff partner for Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life, Francis recruits volunteers, teams and sponsors, supports the event and does whatever other duties volunteers haven’t handled. Here’s hoping that Suffolk’s generosity continues to live up to its well-earned reputation.

The Suffolk Rockin’ Relay for Life will be held from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. May 18 and 19 at Bennett’s Creek Park in North Suffolk. For more information, or to learn how you can participate in the fundraiser, visit www.suffolkrockinrelay.org.