That eclipsed last year's total by more than $3,000 when the 24-hour-long event concluded Sunday with more funds still expected to come in.
In all, 926 individuals and 79 teams took part in the 2012 Relay, which brought together students, faculty and staff from DePauw University with people from the Putnam County community in an event that unfolded at Blackstock Stadium on the DPU campus.
"This is amazing," Greencastle Mayor Sue Murray noted at the opening ceremony. "When people talk about what brings campus and community together, the first thing that comes to people's mind is Relay.
"For all the years that I've been coming to Relay, it's always interesting to find out what this day will bring, but what it always does bring is a community filled with people who are here for one reason -- to celebrate those who have fought valiantly against cancer and are with us today, to remember those whose fight was not successful, and to fight hard to raise money so that, hopefully, one day we won't need events like Relay because cancer will be one of those beaten things."
Noting that her family has been touched by cancer, DePauw's new director of athletics Stevie Baker-Watson offered a personal viewpoint. "Thank you for all of those of you who didn't know you were helping us," she said.
Student organizers also addressed the gathering at Blackstock Stadium.
"While each of us has a unique reason for being here, we all have something very much in common: We want to make a difference in the fight against cancer," Relay For Life co-chairman and DePauw senior Katherine Butler said as the event kicked off Saturday.
"Over the next 24 hours, we will go on a life-affirming journey together," co-chairman and DePauw senior Danielle Boyd added, telling the crowd that the continuing laps around the track at the stadium symbolize "a disease that never sleeps."
First hosted by DePauw in 1996, Putnam County Relay For Life has won several awards for being among the best of its kind among American colleges and universities.
The initial fundraiser raised nearly $15,000. The total grew to approximately $20,000 by 1998, $30,000 by 1999, and $42,000 in 2000. Then, 2001 brought in $80,000; followed by $127,000 in 2002; more than $162,000 in 2003.
In 2004, the event topped $200,000 for the first time at $208,735; and in 2005, a total of more than $230,000 was raised. The 2006 and 2007 events each raised approximately $220,000 for the fight against cancer.
The recession kept donations to about $160,000 in 2008, and 2009 and 2010, while the 2011 Relay pulled in approximately $126,000.
In its 17 years, the DePauw-hosted event has now raised approximately $2 million to fight the deadly disease.