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Pike Relay exceeds goals

Once again, the Relay for Life Campaign goes over the top. The announcement of the total amount raised for the fight against cancer was announced in the wee hours Saturday morning at the Relay for Life event.

When it comes to the fight against cancer, the generosity of the people of Pike County never seems to waiver.

From the beginning, Mary Gibson, chairperson of the 2003 Relay for Life Campaign, was confident that the goal of $203,000 would be reached. Her belief is that the people of Pike County will continue to support the efforts to find a cure for this devastating disease only when a cure is found - when the race is won.

Gibson and the board members of the Pike County Unit of the American Red Cross took the stage early Saturday morning to recognize those who had worked so hard to make this year's Relay for Life campaign a success.

Gibson fought back tears as she expressed her appreciation to the board, the teams and all of those who gave so generously to Relay 2003.

"It has been a wonderful Relay," Gibson said. "Pike County is the best place in the world to live. It the

most loving and caring people that can be found anywhere."

Gibson did not use the word "generous" to describe the people of Pike County. There was no need. The total donations to the campaign said it all.

An anxious gathering

waited to hear the amount that had been raised and a cheer went up after Gibson's five words - two hundred and three thousand.

That was what everyone had been waiting - and hoping to hear. Few probably heard

Gibson say, "and 270 dollars and 84 cents."

There were high-five and congratulations all around, but even if the goal had not been reached, Lynne Stone, board member, said the county would had donated

"a ton of money."

"There may come a time when we don't reach our goal," Stone said, "But there will never be a time when the people of Pike County stop giving."

Donna Schubert said, sadly, each year there are teams with renewed dedication to the cause because someone in their circle has been diagnosed with the disease.

"Until we find a cure, we will be in the fight," Schubert said.

Special awards and recognitions

were presented

to teams and individual who had distinguished themselves

with their outstanding commitments to the cause.

Park Memorial United Methodist Church was honored as the top fundraising team for the American Cancer Society, 2003 campaign. The church raised more than $15,000 and took home the traveling trophy.

First United Methodist Church of Troy was the top per capita team. The church's nine- member team raised more than $10,000, an average

of $1,100 per member.

Three other teams raised $10,000 or more - First Baptist Church Troy, Gibson & Carden CPA and Southeast Alabama Rural Health Association.

First Baptist Church won the Avis Synco Spirit of Relay Award for the team that collected the most Relay bucks.

Winning the award for the most creative banner was First Baptist Church.

South Alabama Electric Cooperative won the award for the best use of the theme, "Racing for a Cure," in the tent decorating contest.

Gibson and Carden won the tent decoration award for the best cancer prevention theme.

Two individual awards were presented. Lionel Maddox was named the Caregiver of the Year and Judy Law, SARHA, raised $2,500 to take top honors as the individual fundraiser for 2003.

Three new teams

also joined the fight against cancer in 2003. Gibson recognized Cooperative Propane, Sigma Alpha Epsilon and Troy Financial Underwriters and expressed appreciation to these teams for their contributions to Relay 2003.

Gibson also expressed appreciation to the county's youths who preformed on stage and worked behind the scenes to make t Relay 2003 more fun and to help it run more efficiently.

She recognized Charles Henderson High Schoool JROTC, the Dixie Darlin's, She Bang, Tri-Omega, Troy Elementary School Orff Ensemble and Troy School of Dance.