Thanks for participating in Relay

Published 8:01 pm Saturday, August 23, 2014

By Heather Howell

It has been my distinct privilege to serve as the event chair for the 2014 Relay For Life of Suffolk. It has been an amazing year full of both blessings and challenges!

All of our hard work came to fruition on Friday, May 16, at Bennett’s Creek Park as the event unfolded and even flourished. What a great night it was!


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Before I let another day pass, I have to express my heartfelt gratitude to many people who made this event possible. For starters, I had a great committee. We are a small but mighty bunch doing the work that normally takes many more players to accomplish. Though all of our committee rose to the challenge of organizing this event with me, I especially want to call attention to Lauren McGhee, my co-chair, and Mary Beth Taylor, our American Cancer Society community partner, for going above and beyond what was originally expected of them and keeping me sane (along with my mom, Lucille Spivey, and Judy Stone on the survivor/caregiver subcommittee). These ladies brought energy and passion for the cause, and they stepped outside their intended roles to fill a need with sponsorship and logistics when it arose.

It’s also important for me to bring attention to the tremendous support given to the 2014 Relay For Life of Suffolk by employees of the city of Suffolk. Specifically, the city manager’s office, Mayor Linda Johnson, and the staff from the Parks and Recreation department always show their support for this event. Due to an absolute deluge the morning of Relay this year, these folks went far beyond their typical level of assistance, doing everything possible to make sure Relay went off without a hitch. I will forever be grateful for their genuine concern and support of our efforts. The 2014 Suffolk Relay meant so much to so many people, and it would not have been possible without the support of the city.

We had a record-breaking fundraising evening at Relay, raising more than $21,000 in one night! Our total fundraising goal for 2014 is $240,000 (net). As of Friday, Aug. 22, we are hovering right around $210,000, eagerly awaiting funds we hope will help us reach goal as anticipated.

Regardless of whether we reach our financial goal or not, the 2014 Relay for Life of Suffolk season was a success in many other ways! Lives were touched, hearts were healed a bit at a time, survivors were honored, those we’ve lost were remembered, and we inspired each other to continue the fight against this ugly, undiscriminating disease called cancer.

Our 2014 season officially ends on Friday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m., so there’s still time to donate. I would encourage each of you who have been touched by cancer in this great community to get involved with the Relay For Life of Suffolk. Visit or email me at for more information.

Thanks for sharing this event with me.

Heather Howell was the Relay For Life of Suffolk event chair this year. Contact her at