By Melody Vallieu
MIAMI COUNTY — The rain held off — minus some sprinkles — and the annual Miami County Relay for Life went off better than ever, organizers say.
Miami County Relay for Life event chair Nicole Bolin said the 2014 event, with the theme “20 years of Fighting Back” came to a close Saturday afternoon following a night of many successes.
“It was awesome,” she said.
Bolin said to date, $169,000 of the $250,000 goal for 2014 has been reached. But, with many corporations around the county still to add in matching funds, she believes the goal can become reality. The Bark for Life event, set for 10 a.m. May 10 at Paul G. Duke Park in Troy, also will bring in additional funds. She said funds also can be raised until the end of August for the 2014 campaign.
“We should be pretty close to meeting the goal by then,” said Bolin, who said 70 cents of each $1 raised remains in Miami County.
Bolin said 56 teams and hundreds of participants helped to make this year’s Relay for Life event successful with many new teams having on-site fundraisers throughout Friday and Saturday.
The committee also worked on the cohesiveness of the event by updating the layout at the Miami County Fairgrounds and bringing everyone together better, she said. She said most everyone she spoke to liked the layout and hoped that it would remain into the future.
Bolin said having children that are fighting cancer at Relay for Life this year was something that was extremely touching to her and to others. Two of the children, Mickayla Nelson and Andrew Powis, both Piqua students, spoke during the Torch of Hope ceremony on Friday.
“It brings it home that it can happen to anyone,” said Bolin, who will be the 2105 chair as well. “It was really touching to have Mickayla and Andrew speak and hear kids like that want to fight back and just want to do more for other people so children like them don’t have to go through what they have.”
Bolin said she is happy to have 2014 in the books and planning for the 2015 event will begin shortly. She said without the help of the community, though, all the money raised in the past two decades to support cancer patients and research wouldn’t have happened — and she is thankful Miami County residents are so supportive of such events.
“I just really want to thank the Miami County community for their help,” she said. “Without their support, we couldn’t have raised more than $3 million in the last 20 years.”
To donate to the Miami County Relay for Life, visit www.relayforlife.org and search for “Miami County, Ohio.”
Melody Vallieu can be reached at (937) 440-5265, email at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews