2013-08-23 / Local News

Gaffney and Union fans join together to battle common foe

Friendly competition will help raise money for ‘Relay for Life’ campaign
By JOE L. HUGHES II
Ledger Staff Writer

Typically when one refers to a “kickoff,” the mind drifts swiftly to the gridiron and the beginning of a new game or season.

But for once, a kickoff has less to do with the action taking place between the white lines and more to do with the game of life.

Longtime rivals on the gridiron, residets of Union and Cherokee counties will come together Sept. 6 to fight for a common cause with the counties’ Relay for Life campaigns facing off in a “Crucial Catch” competition.

The fundraiser will take place on that date during Gaffney’s annual battle with Union County at The Reservation.

“This friendly competition is mainly to drive awareness about cancer, and help raise money for our two counties’ Relay for Life campaigns,” said local Relay for Life chairperson Karen Dixon. “As we all know, awareness is key. Our goal is to continue keeping word out there, encouraging people to get their regular checkups, wear sunscreen when outdoors, know the warning signs cancer brings and live a healthy lifestyle.”

Dixon said local cancer survivor George Barber brought the idea to her attention, taking a page from the Carolina Panthers’ playbook and its campaign with a similar cause.

“He came to us and told us all that the Carolina Panthers are doing, and about their ‘NFL Crucial Catch’ campaign,” she said. “Of course, we’re not able to tie in to what the NFL is doing, but we can do something similar here.”

Volunteers will be placed at the entrance of each gate, as well as the booster club building prior to the game, collecting money for the cause. There will also be megaphones — 5,000 for Gaffney fans and 3,000 for supporters of Union County — on sale, proceeds of which will also go toward the fundraiser.

Fundraising activities will conclude at the end of the third quarter, with a winner being declared shortly afterward. The school with the highest dollar amount will be presented a pink trophy, symbolizing the commitment to find a cure for the debilitating ailment, more specifically breast cancer.

Approximately 2,100 fliers were distributed to students at Gaffney High during the first days of school, asking them for information about local family members who are cancer survivors or loved ones who have passed on as a result of the disease. Names submitted by students will be announced at halftime of the game.

With Relay for Life activities in Cherokee and Union counties now occurring on the same dates, Dixon said such cooperative projects might become more common. The friendly competition also will serve as the local campaign’s kickoff to its 2014 Relay fundraising season.

“Of course, in football you are going to have your rivalries and that kind of thing, but when it comes to something like cancer, we are all on the same team,” Dixon said. “Funds raised in ‘Crucial Catch’ will go toward the new campaign year, giving us kind of a good kickstart as we head into other events like the Tour de Peach, the beauty pageant at Granard Middle School and other big events.

“The whole idea is to bring something fresh and new and not let Relay turn stale to people. Bringing innovative ideas like this is a good way to keep people informed and involved.”

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