Relay for Life raises more than $54,000

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Relay for Life of Putnam County event ended the weekend with a total of $54,500 raised for the American Cancer Society.

Community Liaison Dick Shuck said the Putnam County community and DePauw University partnership continues to be among the top five Relay for Life events in the Great Lakes Division, which puts the event up against Purdue University, Ball State University, Michigan State University and more.

There were 46 teams participating in this year's Relay for Life, with 375 people registered.

While the amount raised and number of participants were down from last year's event, Shuck said this year was the event's largest luminaria ceremony at DePauw University's Blackstock Stadium.

"We completely looped the track with luminaria bags," Shuck said, noting the names of those survivors and those who lost their fight played in the background.

"It's a pretty solemn and sobering experience. You could hear a pin drop."

There were 541 luminaria bags purchased this year. The bags are purchased in honor or in memory of cancer patients, and also representing survivors that have won the fight against cancer.

Shuck noted while this year's fundraising goal was not met over the weekend, there is still time for teams to keep raising money. The Relay for Life's fiscal year runs from Sept. 1 to Aug. 31.

"There will probably be an additional $5,000 raised by the end of August," Shuck said.

About 85 percent of the funds raised stay local, Shuck noted. The funds help with the Look Good Feel Better Program, educational programs, Putnam County Hospital's Oncology Department and also with the newly implemented Road to Recovery Program.

The Ride to Recovery program started this year, and Shuck said there are five drivers locally that can transfer patients to treatment. Those who need a ride can contact the Indianapolis office at 800-227-2345 and will be set up with a Putnam County driver.

Shuck explained the local event is a collaborative effort between the Putnam County community and DePauw University, which helps to get everyone involved in the program. DPU students often focus on campus activities within the Greek system.

Shuck said the fundraising is important to provide funds for the American Cancer Society's fight against cancer, but it is also important for the community.

"We see people come back year after year, including old friends that are still fighting. It's a good time to reflect on the many blessings we have," Shuck said.

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