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Special Relay for Life is in its 11th year

SYMMES VALLEY — It’s $200,000 and counting. That is how much the students in the Symmes Valley school district have raised in their own personal Relay for Life in the fight against cancer.

Relay has been described as a community slumber party where teams camp out at a specified location to sell food, crafts and novelties to raise money for the American Cancer Society for its research.

Friday will be the 11th year for the Symmes Valley students to host their own Relay at the high school, averaging $20,000 annually for ACS.

“Becky Bowling and I had taken part in relays in the county and we just came up with the idea of having a mini relay,” said Amy Ferguson, fifth grade language arts teacher, and one of the relay organizers. “I’ve had a lot of cancer in my family and thought we could try it here in the school. It has grown over the years.”

All students participate starting with kindergarten through second grade who bring in change for their special buckets. Grades third through fifth have a Relay Recess where they get pledges.

“The middle school students get teams and do some of the most creative things,” Ferguson said. “They sold junk to raise money for their teams, had bake sales. These are not just kids begging people for money. They are getting out to earn it.”

The middle school students will have tents around the high school track selling snow cones, nachos and having games.

Joining them will be the high school students who this year have as their theme, “United We Stand,” decorating in the colors of red, white and blue. Approximately $5,000 of the $20,000 raised comes from these students.

“Students begin at 8:30 in the morning and will walk the track all day,” Ferguson said. “At all times there has to be someone from the team on the track.”

That is to show that cancer never sleeps.

At 1 p.m. all survivors in the county are invited to join the survivors’ lap where everyone who has beaten cancer walks the track.

“That is for anyone,” Ferguson said.