Relay For Life looking to regain fundraising momentum in event
by By RICK NORTON Associate Editor
Aug 12, 2013 | 1406 views | 0 0 comments | 19 19 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Relay for Life
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Working to rebound from its rain-shortened fundraising walk in May, and then faced with a disappointing turnout in the followup Hope Festival in late July, Relay for Life of Bradley County leaders are looking to Saturday’s golf tournament to offset some of the lost proceeds.

Set for Chatata Valley Golf & Country Club, the second annual tourney will kick off at 8 a.m. with registration beginning at 7.

Two-player teams are being sought for the American Cancer Society fundraiser, according to Tammy Leatherwood, event chair for Relay for Life. The original goal was 50 teams. At present, about 20 have confirmed.

“Teams can just show up and register on the day of the tournament, but we would prefer they notify us in advance,” the longtime Relay for Life volunteer explained. Knowing how many teams to expect will give the ACS organizers a better idea of amount of food and number of volunteers that will be needed for the festive Aug. 17 event.

Currently, Relay for Life of Bradley County — which is comprised of a year full of fundraising events and not just the annual May walk — is falling short of its $255,000 goal for the year, Leatherwood said. She hopes the golf tournament, plus a couple of other fundraisers scheduled prior to the Aug. 31 end of Relay’s fiscal year, will offset some of the deficit.

For Leatherwood, serving as Relay For Life event chair goes far beyond monetary numbers. She is embedded in the cause because of cancer’s impact on her own family.

“My brother was diagnosed [with cancer] in 2005, and my daughter was diagnosed in 2006,” she said. “Both are survivors. Both are still with us. They are my two main personal reasons [for being involved with Relay For Life].”

She added, “I have numerous other relatives and close friends who have fought, and won, the battle ... and some who have lost it.”

Leatherwood said for her the fight to beat cancer is personal.

“When I hear about someone losing the battle, it just makes me angry,” she stressed. “I hate this disease.”

Perseverance is her key ally. When inclement weather cut short the year’s main fundraiser last spring, and when the subsequent Hope Festival on July 20 failed to produce the results that planners had expected, both were simply temporary setbacks.

“We just back up and punt, but we don’t give up,” Leatherwood stressed. “We’ve got a couple of other events coming up (in addition to this weekend’s golf tournament) before our fiscal year ends on Aug. 31 ... that will help to offset some of the deficit.”

Saturday’s tourney, which will include a $250 award for the first-place team and a $200 prize for the runnerup, will also include two additional cash drawings of $75 each.

Participation in the two-person select shot tournament comes with a registration fee of $150 per team or $75 for individual players. Mulligans are available for $5 each with a limit of four per player. The tourney will kick off with a shotgun start.

Tournament registration will include lunch, green fees, golf cart and goody bag. For more information about the event, or to register a team, contact Leatherwood at 423-303-6950 or send an email to

Contrary to perception, Relay For Life of Bradley County — whose work and proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society and ongoing research to beat the disease — is not limited to just the main 24-hour walk every spring. Relay For Life is actually a 12-month campaign made up of separate fundraisers throughout the fiscal year, Leatherwood explained.

“The Relay itself is usually held in May, but our teams have events all year long ... yard sales, bake sales, boot drives by Bradley County Fire-Rescue which were very successful,” she noted. “There’s something going on just about every month of the year to help Relay For Life.”

The local Relay team organized its first golf tournament in 2000. After a 12-year hiatus, the fundraiser returned in 2012. Last year’s event attracted 15 teams and 30 golfers. It raised $3,500. Organizers are hoping to eclipse the totals Saturday.

Leatherwood has served as a Relay For Life and American Cancer Society volunteer for eight years. When the disease struck her family is when she decided to strike back.

As she said, nonprofit organizations like ACS and Relay For Life sometimes have to “back up and punt” when Mother Nature drops her calling card or when well-intended events don’t catch the eye of the community. In her way of thinking, such setbacks don’t halt the march. They just temporarily slow the progress.