Inside, outside, rain, clear skies — Phyllis Boger was going to be there. The cause is just that important to her.
And, her message could just be that important to someone else.
“I might not be the picture of perfect health,” the 18-year Relay For Life veteran said Friday, “but I am the picture of ‘cancer can be beat.’ I am living proof.”
Relay held its latest event Friday night at Springfield Middle School. Pending weather moved the six-hour walk inside, but spirits weren’t dampened for people like Boger, a Rock Hill resident and 22-year cancer survivor. Or the other 116 participants and 26 teams.
Some simply showed to support friends. One woman raised more than $1,800. Together, the event generated more than $41,000 for support and research.
Kaye Bollinger and Carla Harrison came to represent their company, Fort Mill’s Domtar, the top fundraiser among businesses and civic organizations bringing groups to participate. Bollinger hadn’t been to a Relay event before, but like many people Friday said cancer is so prevalent it’s easy to rally around events trying to help.
“I wanted to show my support,” she said.
Harrison has been to almost a half dozen events. She recalls large and smaller Relay events, good weather and bad. She recalls one in Fort Mill when it stormed. Volunteers had all sorts of fun trying to drain and dry their tents afterward, but even that year the event was worth having.
Anything providing so much for cancer research, Harrison said, is.
“It hits close to home,” she said. “It’s a fun way to get out and make a difference.”
Event director Parker Ogden said Relay events are the largest funding project each year for the American Cancer Society. Also, an opportunity to see the value of those funds.
“We get to see where our services go through ACS, so kind of one of the cool numbers we like to celebrate is, last year we were able to help over 300 people here in the Fort Mill, Rock Hill, York area through our patient services,” Ogden said.
Many of those people walked Friday, or will walk at a future event.
“These funds go to the people here in the area to help take care of them, get them through this horrible time and us as ACS kind of come walk beside them, hold their hands, help them through whatever we can do.”
Which is what happened to Boger. Cancer is “nothing to fool around with,” she said. The former municipal secretary in Rock Hill still remembers the double lymph node surgery, the struggle, the event her son and his girlfriend walked with Boger that first year. Remembers it well enough to come out each year, rain or shine, inside or outside, to help “her baby” in its fundraising efforts.
“I don’t do this for me,” she said. “I’m doing this to help encourage others.”