MEYERSDALE — Meyersdale's 7th annual Relay For Life raised $86,207 for the American Cancer Society during Friday and Saturday's event at Meyersdale schools — reaching and exceeding the goal of $85,000.
Ginny Knieriem and Donna Saylor, co-chairwomen for the event, were amazed and thankful for the amount of support from the community.
"The numbers kept inching up and inching up and we were concerned we weren't going to make it but at the last minute people came in and made it happen," said Knieriem. "Every dollar raised made a difference and our participants put a lot of effort into every amount."
Knieriem stressed that for the communities of Meyersdale, Salisbury and Berlin in southern Somerset County area to raise $86,207 is no small task and shows the spirit of volunteerism and unity here.
Donna Saylor said that everything ran smoothly for the 24-hour event and the weather cooperated completely with only a few raindrops on Friday evening. Diana Lepley, a former co-chairwoman who is both a breast and colon cancer survivor, made the comment that those few rain drops were tears from heaven.
Meyersdale Medical Center donated the entire meal for survivors and caretakers and the Meyersdale Garden Club helped to serve. And, a cake auction once again served as a successful fundraiser for this year, raising more than $1,281, with several cakes going for more than $300 each.
Knieriem said there were more than 300 participants walking on the Meyersdale Area High School track from noon Friday to noon Saturday on 18 different teams to raise money. In addition, more than 400 luminaries were sold. There were more than 100 survivors who walked the track during the victory lap.
Also on Friday evening, Chalyce Howsare, a 21-year-old from Meyersdale who survived Hodgkin's Lymphoma, served as the guest speaker.
Later at dark, there were fireworks set off and donated by Little Big Shots of Addison.
Relay For Life in Somerset County started out in Somerset 20 years ago. Then, Windber held its own Relay 11 years ago and Meyersdale started one in 2007. In the past few years, the Meyersdale Relay had been held in June at the same time as Somerset's Relay but this year, the Meyersdale event has been changed back to July.