Another successful year for the Relay

Published 9:43 pm Wednesday, August 15, 2012

In the second year it was held at Bennett’s Creek Park in northern Suffolk, instead of at its traditional location at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, Suffolk’s Rockin’ Relay for Life met many expectations, failed to reach a couple of goals and exceeded the most important one of all — that of the amount of money raised by the event on behalf of the American Cancer Society.

With 73 participating teams, three more than last year, this year’s Relay for Life took advantage of its location to attract people from Western Branch and other areas of “greater-Suffolk” to join in the fun and fundraising. In fact, the largest team, Bruins’ Bravest, with more than 100 members, represented Western Branch High School in Chesapeake, confirming the development of the North Suffolk/Churchland/Western Branch area into a community of its own, albeit one without a name.

The total number of participating walkers and cancer survivors was down this year, signifying that — notwithstanding the size of the Western Branch team — teams were smaller than they’d been in the past. Perhaps that’s a measure of individual commitment to the cause, as opposed to joining it for the fun of being with a group.

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But the biggest news coming out of a Rockin’ Relay for Life organizing committee wrap-up meeting this week was that, having raised $235,942, the event had exceeded its fundraising goal by nearly $5,000. As the nation struggles to pull itself out of the mire of the Great Recession, that’s pretty incredible news.

Planning is already under way for the 2013 Relay. It seems safe to expect the event to continue to grow as more people become aware of it in its new location. But that won’t happen without the help of participants — both teams and individuals — that are committed to helping achieve victory in the fight against cancer.

And it’s never too early to start planning for the May event. To learn more about the Relay and to find out how you can get involved next year, visit