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County#039;s Relay for Life organizers take fight against cancer online

You don't need a pair of tennis shoes to participate in the annual Relay for Life - just your computer.

Organizers of the Relay for Life of Lawrence County are trying something new this year: They are taking the relay global, on the World Wide Web.

Anyone can log onto the relay Web site and make donations, check out the various teams or register as a volunteer.

The online program is in its second year in Ohio, but this is a first for the Lawrence County Relay.

Ohio University and Fairland School District sponsor the relay that hits the ground running May 6 and 7.

Kim Addis, online chairperson for the relay, said that they have a total of 47 teams and seven of those teams have signed up online.

They have raised a total of $2,000 online so far.

In order to better understand how this opportunity came about, Jerry McConnell, event co-chair, explained how the relay has grown since 2003.

"Our ambition has been to allow the relay to gain a good reputation and grow not only throughout the community, but throughout the entire county," McConnell said.

The first relay, May 2003, was known as the Eastern Lawrence County Cancer Relay for Life because another relay was also held in Coal Grove.

That year, the relay was held in the Fairland Stadium and more than $40,000 was raised.

The second year, more teams joined the relay and they also had an increase in cancer survivors who participated.

The relay raised a total of $53,370, an increase of around $15,000.

This year's organizers have expanded the relay to include the entire county because it will be the only relay held in the county.

So far, it looks like there will be another increase in survivor and team participation.

Each year, the relay has gotten bigger and better and McConnell thinks the future of the relay looks bright.

He said it is interesting that they have shown growth every year, and one part of that ongoing growth is going online.

McConnell said their goal has been to make a product that everyone feels good about and to build upon every relay.

The online program is just the next step.

The Web provides another way for people who may not have been able to participate otherwise, to contribute to the fight against cancer.

Stephanie Burcham, event co-chairperson, said that sometimes people get busy or forget to write out a check and mail it, but by using the Web site they can make a donation and get a receipt within minutes.

Most people have family in many different locations, so this also allows people to send a donation from anywhere in the world, she said.

It's not too late to sign up to form a team or to make a donation.

Volunteers and team leaders are still needed.

If you would like to participate in any way or make a donation, you can access the site on the Web at http://acsdents.org/relay/ohio/proctorville.

The entire event is open to the public, even if it is just to watch.

For more information you can contact Stephanie Burcham at 886-7655 or Jerry McConnell at 886-3100.