Garfield County Relay for Life earns regional honor

John GardnerPost Independent StaffGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado

GARFIELD COUNTY – Garfield County was recognized for its outstanding production of something other than natural gas in 2007. The Rifle Area and Roaring Fork Relay for Life events collectively raised more than $218,000 for the American Cancer Society between the two events last year. Organizers of the events, Julie Spencer of the Roaring Fork Relay and Theresa Hamilton for the Rifle Area Relay, received word at the annual Relay for Life convention in Reno, Nev., in September that Garfield County raised more money per capita than any other county in the Great West Division and that the two events were in the top 10 nationally for money raised. And that says a lot about the communities throughout the county, according to Hamilton.”It’s absolutely phenomenal, and we look forward to continuing the trend.” Hamilton said. “We want to be the leader in the nation on turning hope into a cure.”When it’s all boiled down, Garfield County raised $4.12 per every man, woman and child living in the county. That is No. 1 in the Great West Division, which encompasses Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, Montana and North Dakota.Spencer agreed that it was an exciting accomplishment, especially since the Roaring Fork event has nearly tripled its fundraising over the past two years. The Roaring Fork event raised $42,000 in 2006 and last year raised nearly $116,000. But that’s in the past, and Spencer wants to continue the trend. She increased the goal for the event to $150,000 for 2008.”It’s pretty exciting,” Spencer said. “But you have to have lofty goals.”In 2007 the Rifle-area event raised more than $103,000, and organizers are also going to shoot for more this year, with a goal of $120,000, Hamilton said.The point of the event is for communities across the nation to unite for one common goal: to eradicate cancer.”We all have someone, friends or loved ones, who have been touched by the disease,” Hamilton said. “This is how we can fight back. That’s what Relay is all about, celebrating those who have beaten it and those who are fighting it, as a community. Whether you have it or not, you can come together and help beat it.”Contact John Gardner: 384-9114jgardner@postindependent.comPost Independent, Glenwood Springs, Colorado CO

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