Mother Nature wasn't kind to Tama County's American Cancer Society Relay For Life event for the second straight year.
After a few hours outside at South Tama High School's track, the annual cancer fundraiser was moved inside Friday night. Rain began falling hard and forcing the event into the high school gymnasium again.
"It started raining pretty good and we had to move inside," said Heidi Hora, community relations director for the Tama County Relay For Life. "Our DJ has expensive equipment, so I don't blame him for wanting to risk that."
Cancer survivors complete their opening lap around the South Tama County High School track Friday evening at the Tama County Relay For Life event. Around two-dozen cancer survivors walked the opening lap for the American Cancer Society’s local event.
Although the event was moved inside for the second straight year, that didn't stop the participants and cancer survivors from enjoying the festivities. The walking continued, along with the games, until Saturday morning.
More than 200 people participated in the county-wide event. Total fundraising dollars decreased from about $47,000 last year to $36,335 this year.
"We will probably get some more in before it's all over," Hora said. "It is down for last year and you never know why that happens. Our goal was $49,000, because we made over $47,000.
"It's still a good amount of money and we provided a great service to the Tama County residents," she said. "It will still help fund research and every dollar is important. We set goals to try and grow each year. Sometimes it goes up and down. It kind of ebs and flows with the economy."
One of the biggest moments of the event is the lighting of the luminary bags around the track. Officials moved the event inside the gym right before this was about to happen. Although they weren't allowed to light the 375 bags inside, it was still a special moment for everyone involved.
"We were able to hold our luminary ceremony, which is very important to the Relay For Life," Hora said. "There were a lot. It was very neat seeing them lined up bag-to-bag around the track. Unfortunately, we couldn't light them inside, but we were able to set up all of the bags. We still read off all of the names and the Native American drummers played. It was great to have them there this year, because we didn't have them there last year. That was a fun and neat addition to the event, because it's a big part of the community."
Anyone wanting to donate money to the county's Relay For Life may do so until Aug. 31. Hora hopes their total will increase before the end of August deadline. Hora may be contacted by email at firstname.lastname@example.org if anyone wants to donate to the ACS.