The Mills County Relay For Life raised $94,000 for the American Cancer Society in 2013 - $6.12 per capita after expenses - earning the county a No. 6 national ranking for communities with a population of 15,000 - 20,000. The $6.12 per capita figure is nearly five times the national average of $1.25.
“Mills County has a great team of organizers and great community support,” American Cancer Society Relay For Life specialist Suzanne Mages said. “It doesn’t happen that way in every community.”
Mages was in Glenwood Monday night to present Mills County with an award for its national recognition at a community kickoff for the 2014 Mills County Relay For Life, scheduled to take place June 7 at Ram Memorial Field in Glenwood from 4 p.m. - midnight.
“It kind of leaves you speechless. We are amazed to be sixth in the nation,” Mills County Relay For Life chair Kathy Reisner said. “It goes back to the cause. Mills County cares from the heart.”
Glenwood resident Cyndy Sell, a longtime volunteer and organizer for the relay, said she believes Mills County has embraced the event because most residents have been touched by the disease. They’ve lost friends and family members to cancer or have someone close to them who is a survivor.
“We’re making progress, but we need to finish the fight,” Sell said. “It’s not going to happen without the support of the community.”
Nationally, Relay For Life events in 2013 raised $352 million for the American Cancer Society, making it the largest single fundraising event in the world. Per capita, Iowa is ranked No. 1 for dollars raised at Relay For Life events, averaging just over $2 per person.