Hancock Relay For Life raises more than $50K for cancer research
By Geoff Belcher
Apr 29, 2014, 18:31
Laura Lucore delivers an inspirational cancer survivor’s speech.
An estimated 1,500 people turned out Saturday for the annual American Cancer Society Relay for Life at Bay St. Louis's historic Depot Park.
Twenty-seven teams, including 251 individual volunteer members, raised more than $50,000 for cancer research.
"Our goal had been $42,000," event organizer Charlie Cornelius said. "The planning committee, relay teams and sponsor contributions have really come through – and the actual campaign goes on until Dec. 31.
The top fundraising team for Saturday's event was the City of Bay St. Louis team. The second place team was Bay-Waveland School District. Third place went to Team Waveland.
"The actual campaign goes on until the end of the year, so there's a lot more time to raise money," Cornelius said. "For instance the City of Bay St. Louis team will be doing more things this Saturday at the Stella Blues & BBQ Festival to raise funds."
Top individual fundraisers were: First place, Dominic Pitts of St. Clare Catholic Church; second place, Bernie Cullen of Team Waveland; third place, Tammy Raymond of Bay-Waveland School District. Other awards presented Saturday included:
• Best camp site: First place went to Bay St., Louis Rotary Club; second place, St. Clare Catholic Church; third place, Coast Electric.
• Best Costume: First place, Silver Slipper; second, Oak Crest Mansion; third, Hancock County School District.
• Best Baton: First Place, Team Waveland; second place, St. Clare; third place, City of Bay St. Louis.
• Best Snack: First place, Bay-Waveland School District; second, Oak Crest Mansion; third, St. Clare.
"This was phenomenal, the amount of people who were out there for a Relay event. They came out for two reasons: Obviously, the solemnity of the Luminaria ceremony. And second, for the Survivor's speech, which was given this year by Laura Lucore – -- it was a very moving, heart-felt speech that she gave.
"Then you have the Survivor Walk, where everybody walks around the track. There were so many people walking, it was like a constant flow. It was just gorgeous."
That event segued into the Womanless Beauty Pageant, Cornelius said, "which was just a huge, hilarious event.
Fifteen male contestants competed in drag. Each contestant solicited donations in order to compete.
The overall winner was Billy Ross of Team Gwyn's Pink Ladies. Billy is Gwyn's husband. The top fund-raising contestant was Dwayne Bremer of the Sea Coast Echo.
"The evening ended with the releasing of the sky lanterns," Cornelius said. "We had 221 Luminaria bags surrounding the walking track. It was beautiful.
"During the course of the day, we probably had 1,500 people come through. I really think it encapsulated one of the slogans for Relay for Life and the American Cancer Society: Celebrate. Remember. And Fight Back."
All 27 fund-raising teams will continue to host events through Dec. 31.