PUNXSUTAWNEY â€” What is it that helps Punxsy's Relay for Life achieve its goals, despite the economy and the weather?
It's an easy answer: The community and the Relay for Life teams.
This past Saturday, 27 registered teams in Punxsy's Relay for Life raised $87,383 for the American Cancer Society during its eighth-annual event, surpassing its goal of $86,000 at 8:30 p.m. Saturday evening.
Teams have until July 31 to submit their earnings, which will only push the overall total even higher.
Jennifer Pavlak and Robyn Shaffer, who co-chaired the event for the second year in a row, said the teams and the community are what make the Relay for Life successful every year in Punxsy.
â€śThe people that we have, they wonâ€™t stop at anything,â€ť Pavlak said.
â€śThey just go deeper every year for the goal. This year's was $86,000, and we had $87,000 at the end of the day.â€ť
Cancer, Shaffer said, is relentless, but so are those who fight it.
â€śCancer is still out there,â€ť she said. â€śPeople notice it more than ever, and it's affecting more people than ever.â€ť
â€śI think the community in general has big hearts,â€ť Pavlak said. â€śThey all want to help someone, no matter what. Punxsy does really well with that.â€ť
While other area Relay events have suffered due to weather and other circumstance, the Punxsy Relay has endured and reinvented itself each year. This year, it took on a Hawaiian theme, but that's just a part of making the event different each year, Shaffer said.
The Barclay Square location â€” centralized and convenient â€” has also been a benefit for Punxsy's Relay, as it draws in people in town to simply visit the Weather Capital of the World.
â€śThere were people having their pictures taken at the library, and they said, 'What's going on?'â€ť Shaffer said. â€śWe said, 'This is the Relay for Life,' and they were walking into it. Tourism is a big thing to have here.â€ť
The Relay experienced comfortable temperatures, yet rain at the end of its event â€“ fortunately, after the annual luminaria ceremony.
â€śEverything went really smoothly; we are so grateful for that,â€ť Pavlak said. â€śEveryone had a blast.â€ť