FREDERICKTOWN — This year’s Relay for Life walkers showed even more courage and determination than usual when rain, dark skies and the threat of a tornado conditions accompanied their first lap on Friday evening at the Fredericktown High School stadium.
The 13th annual relay began with a special memorial to the late Dianna Craig by her family and fellow team members on the Rolls-Royce relay team. Her daughters Britney Hartley and Lani Skaggs, her sister Lisa Hartsaw, and Hartsaw’s children, Josh Smith and Sierra Vilfer, presented $10,000 to the American Cancer Society at the request of Craig, who died of leukemia at age 42 in January. Craig had been captain of the Rolls-Royce relay team and administrative assistant to the executive vice president of operations at Rolls-Royce.
Kathy Stover, the current team captain, said Craig’s dream had been that her team raise $40,000 to be designated a purple team by ACS. They arrived at the relay site having raised the $40,000 and with the addition of Craig’s $10,000 will instead become a nationally recognized ACS team with $50,000 raised.
Organizers Jody and Eric Rutter noted that they could not predict if the event would match the nearly $106,000 raised in 2008.
“We’re down on teams a little bit this year,” said Jody, “but we do have new teams, including Mount Vernon Machine and Tool and Wal-Mart. Registration has been down a little bit, but we’re still making it. There are many on-site fundraisers going on here, so people will be raising money all night.”
Friendly competition heated up early when Rutter, a Kirsten’s Krusaders team member, said of the Rolls-Royce team, “They’re trying to knock us off our title [of top team of 2008].”
Michelle Coscia of Rolls-Royce replied with a grin, “I think you’ve held the title a little too long.”
The Monday edition of the News will carry the results, winners and awards of this year’s Relay for Life.