The museum conference room was packed with scrapbooking enthusiasts. Bank of Cleveland employees first came up with the idea for this event three years ago as a fundraiser for a cure for cancer. All proceeds raised went to Relay for Life of Bradley County.
According to its website, Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. There are many components that make up a Relay For Life event, and there are many ways in which people and organizations can volunteer and participate.
Scrapbooking itself is around 175 years old. President Thomas Jefferson was a renowned scrapbooker. But the “scrapbooking” of his day is nothing like what it is like today.
Just as cancer research, diagnosis and cures are leaps and bounds above what they were decades ago — thanks in large part to fundraisers just like this one helping to advance research and treatments.
Photography, a booming industry offering an endless supply of designs, as well as the latest cutting-edge digital design, all make modern scrapbooking a world apart from Jefferson’s version of scrapbooking.
“Digital scrapbooking is less messy and more flexible,” said Alana Brodniak, a consultant with Heritage publishing company who attended the fundraiser. “You can crop online, stretch, shrink — and can hit undo.”
In addition to networking and “cropping,” classes, food, and refreshments also were available at the fundraiser. Specialized vendors displayed the latest in their craft. Door prizes were also given out.
But those who attended had other reasons for being there.
Paula Pedrick, a teacher at Arnold Elementary, got involved with Relay for Life when a friend of hers was diagnosed with breast cancer. She attended the fundraiser Saturday because she also is involved with Relay for Life through her school.
She is also a scrapbooking fan. She started creating projects in 2002 when she first started teaching in the Cleveland City Schools district.
“It’s a lot like a quilting bee,” Pedrick said. Friends. Creativity. Communication. Fun. “And you can start with just scissors, paper and pictures. An album can come later.” A wide variety of embellishments, papers, fasteners and designs to make individualized statements proliferate. “There are tons and tons of things,” Pedrick said.
Trina Norton also is both a volunteer and a participant.
Currently, Norton, who is a novice cropper, is putting together photos, designs and papers about her grandfather. She received many items that belonged to or were about her grandfather from her mom’s aunt. Her grandfather served in the military in World War I in China and France.
Her grandfather also was one of the guards on the border in New Mexico watching for a possible crossing from Pancho Villa. She decided these precious pieces of family history needed to be preserved. She had her own shoebox full of photos she had at her home that she also wanted to preserve.
“Now I had a way of bringing them to life,” Norton said. “I get such a sense of accomplishment. A sense of pride.”
And holding a scrapbooking fundraiser is such a unique way to raise money for such an important cause.
Norton started as a volunteer at the second Relay for Life scrapbooking fundraiser as a representative from the Bank of Cleveland last year.
“We’ve all been touched by knowing people with cancer,” said Lisa Carroll, branch manager at the main office downtown of Bank of Cleveland. She has been involved with Relay for Life for years. “Bank of Cleveland is supportive of the community and very involved in Relay for Life for cancer research.”
The museum has been so gracious offering its space, Carroll said. As luck would have it, one of the museum’s staff members was at the first scrapbooking Relay for Life event at the bank. This museum member later called Carroll to see if she would be interested in holding subsequent events at the museum. The museum has hosted this fundraiser now for the past two years.
Volunteers from Bank of Cleveland organized and staffed the event, as well as provided some of the snacks. Students from Walker Valley High Schools also volunteered to help. Chick-fil-A provided lunch. Food Lion provided bottled water and M&M Mars provided the candy.
“We hope to have a scrapbooking fundraiser every year,” Carroll said. There is even talk of holding the same event twice a year.