Relay for Life of Douglas County ranks 2nd in nation for fundraising
Alexandria Industries receives Team of Excellence award for 2019, 2020.
This year’s Relay for Life of Douglas County was an evening filled with cheers, tears, music and fun. The annual event, which took place Friday, July 9, was once again held in-person at the Douglas County Fairgrounds.
Last year, because of COVID, the event was scaled back and took place virtually. And because the traditional style event could not be held, awards were not able to be presented to the organizers of the event.
But this year, during the opening ceremony, Sherri Maanum, the senior development manager with the American Cancer Society, was on hand to share some good news. She handed out awards for both 2019 and 2020.
For the 2019 event, three awards were presented to Lorene Pitcher, the team lead for the Relay for Life of Douglas County who is also a cancer survivor.
Alexandria Industries, with its Fishing for a Cure team, received the 2019 National Award for Team of Excellence by ranking 32nd in the nation. The team raised just under $82,000 in 2019.
As a whole, the Relay for Life of Douglas County event was ranked 2nd in the nation for its size (population between 35,000 and 35,999) and was awarded the 2019 National Per Capita Award. The event raised an average of $6.15 per person.
Lastly, the event’s net income in 2019 was $221,000 and Relay for Life of Douglas County was named the Top Relay Event in Minnesota for the second year in a row.
Maanum congratulated Pitcher and her team of volunteers for their extraordinary efforts in 2019.
She then presented the awards for 2020.
Alexandria Industries raised a little more than $80,000 in 2020 and once again received the National Award for Team of Excellence. And it moved up in its ranking by ranking 22nd in the nation for its donation efforts.
“This team is outstanding and incredible to work with,” Maanum said.
She noted that because of the COVID pandemic, they were not able to rank per capita events in 2020. However, she said they would continue once they are able to have that data available again.
As a whole, the event in 2020, despite not being in person, was still able to have a net income of $152,000.
“Again, this amazing feat, during a pandemic, resulted in the Relay for Life of Douglas County being named the Top Relay Event in Minnesota for the third year in a row,” said Maanum. “You are all so amazing, passionate, heartfelt and inspirational to so many of us. You all truly make this dream a reality year after year and I am so proud to be able to work with each of you.”
Maanum also thanked Pitcher for her longtime dedication and sacrifice and for all the roles she has had over the years and said all the different hats Pitcher has worn has been a key component to the success of the event.
“We are so appreciative of your hard work, sleepless nights, motivation, encouragement, drive, integrity and passion,” said Maanum. “Your leadership has made this Relay for Life event what it is today. We look forward to working many more years with you.”
Pitcher said on Monday that this year’s event went well.
“It was so wonderful having it live and in person again at the fairgrounds,” said Pitcher. “So many people appreciated being together honoring the survivors, remembering those we have lost to cancer and honoring our amazing honorees we had this year.”
Fundraising for the event is still happening and will be going on through the end of year. So far, however, the event has raised about $72,000.
Sadly, Pitcher said, the numbers were down for teams, participants and attendance this year. But she said she had a feeling coming off of the challenging year of COVID that there would be lower numbers.
About 500 people attended the Friday night event, which Pitcher said is substantially lower than normal. However, she said there was another community event going on just down the road from the Relay, which she feels made a difference.
Pitcher noted the Relay for Life of Douglas County committee is planning another fundraising event for this fall. It will be hosting an online silent auction Nov. 11-14 with all proceeds going to the Relay for Life.
“We will continue to work hard to build this event back to where we were before COVID,” said Pitcher. “We have a wonderful community with great support and are so appreciative of everything.”