By Sarah Miller, The County Times
HOLLYWOOD, Md. (June 16, 2011)—Neither wind nor rain nor lightning could deter the participants from taking part in the 14th annual Relay For Life in St. Marys County.
More than 1,700 people came out for the Relay for Life, including 180 cancer survivors, coordinator Kristy Wilhite said. All combined, the teams raised approximately $300,000.
Its always a success when we have people come out to celebrate our survivors, Wilhite said.
She said planning for the Relay for Life begins in August, and the date is usually set for the first Saturday after graduations. There are between 25 and 30 people on the planning committee, who had a big job on Saturday, especially when during the scheduled start time at 5:30 p.m., a front of thunderstorms came rolling through the area.
The final decision was to wait the storm out, and the start was pushed back to 7 p.m. The weather finally cooperated for the opening ceremonies to be help outside as planned, though Wilhite said there was a plan to move the relay to an inside course through Leonardtown High School if worse came to worse.
Even the rain couldnt dampen the spirits of the participants. As soon as the rain and thunder stopped, there were people out walking around the track and waiting in the tents set up for overnight participants, waiting for the opening ceremonies.
Jaclyn Sherman, a member of team Purple Ribbons, who was participating for her second year, said the Relay for Life is a good way to get people together to raise money for a good cause.
I think its great, said Sydney Tatman, one of Shermans teammates.
Jeff Maher, the director of teaching, learning and professional development with St. Marys County Public Schools, was one of the many participants from the school district. He said there was 100 percent participation from the schools, with at least one person from each school on a team and several teams being formed by the schools themselves.
Wilhite said there is also participation from outside St. Marys County, and several people who take part in the St. Marys Relay for Life will also come out for the 24-hour Relay for life in Calvert County on June 17 in Hallowing Point Park.