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Armstrong County relay teams recognized for efforts

| Saturday, Nov. 1, 2003

Two Armstrong County relay teams have teamed up to raise $609,800 for the American Cancer Society Relay For Life, placing the county number one in the state and the nation for counties with a population of 60,000 to 74,999.

At a recent awards ceremony, the Ford City and Apollo relays received the "No.1 Per Capita Award" for Pennsylvania with a per capita amount for the two relays sites of $8.38.

The amount also placed the Armstrong County Relays as number one in the nation. The national award was the first such American Cancer Society award ever received in Pennsylvania.

In addition, Ford City Relay received recognition for having two individual relay teams each raise more than $50,000 to put the teams in the "No. 1 Nationwide Club." The two teams which raised more than $50,000 were Rosebud Miners captained by Tom Stitt and Bill Powell with $110,574 and the Barracuda's No. 1 captained by Dr. Kathy Selvaggi and Judy Walter with $57,707.

The Ford City Relay was also recognized as being the fifth-highest fund-raising event in the state, raising $423,045.

"We're very proud," said Stitt, Ford City Relay chairman. "This speaks highly of the people in the county who volunteer and the people who give."

Stitt added that out of 6,500 relay teams in the state, the Rosebud Miners' team was the number one overall team and the Barracuda team was number three.

Relay For Life is a 24-hour team event to celebrate survivorship and to raise funds for cancer research, education, advocacy and service programs.

The Relay For Life brings together teams from local businesses, schools, churches and families for camaraderie, food, fun, entertainment and a night under the stars, all while team members take turns walking or running on a track. Relay For Life features a cancer survivors victory lap and reception to celebrate life and an evening ceremony to memorialize those lost to cancer and honor those fighting or have conquered the disease.

The Ford City Relay was held June 14 and 15 at the Ford City High School athletic field and raised $423,045. The 2003 Relay For Life in Apollo was held May 30 and 31 at the Apollo-Ridge Senior High School in Spring Church and raised $186,837.

The two Armstrong County relays each received a "Pack the Track" award. The award recognizes communities where cancer survivors are a big part of the relay. The Apollo and Ford City relays combined had 318 survivors attend the survivor ceremony, honorary lap and reception. In Apollo, 175 survivors attended, the most ever there, according to Jim Clawson, Apollo Relay chairman.

"Our goal is to raise money to save lives," Clawson said. "In Armstrong County it's unbelievable that you can raise that amount of money."

Team registrations are now being accepted for the 2004 Relay For Life. A team can register for the Ford City Relay by contacting Angie Smith at 724-763-1694. To register for the Apollo Relay call Sally Rumbaugh at 724-478-4689 or Vicki Myers at 724-478-1550.

For more information about the 2004 Relay For Life, contact Tom Stitt at 724-545-2701, or Jim Clawson at 724-478-1648.

Cancer survivors are invited to call to add their names to the mailing list for Relay For Life newsletters and an invitation to attend the survivors ceremony and reception next June.

For information about cancer, call the American Cancer Society's 24-hour National Information Center at 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit www.cancer.org.

Five committee members from the Ford City Relay For Life attended the American Cancer Society Relay For Life Chairman's Summit in State College where the awards were presented. Angie Smith, Tom Stitt, Carol Augustine, Jolene Formaini and Kathy Oleksak attended the two-day training session for leaders.

Attending the summit from the Apollo Relay were Jim and Renee Clawson and Donna Zukas.

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