Cancer survivors Carl and Dorothy Kohorst enjoy their goodie bags after the Survivor Lap Friday evening. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
Cancer survivors Carl and Dorothy Kohorst enjoy their goodie bags after the Survivor Lap Friday evening. (DHI Media/Nancy Spencer)
DELPHOS — A little rain didn’t dampen the Relay spirit during the 13th annual local event Friday evening. With six hours on the clock, hundreds of Relayers filled the cafeteria, halls and gymnasium at Jefferson High School for what American Cancer Society Community Manager Jamie Orozco has dubbed a “hugely successful event.”

“Even though we had to move indoors, the feedback was great. It’s good to have the option. It’s a huge benefit so we don’t have to cancel and the teams that work hard to bring fundraisers can still earn their money,” Orozco said. “We kept everyone engaged and it ran very smoothly.”

Craft and food choices lined the outside walls of the cafeteria and survivors were still the main focus. While the weather did keep some at home, more than 35 survivors walked the first lap and enjoyed goodie bags, snacks and camaraderie.

The evening ended with $64,000 of the $73,000 goal raised. Numerous teams and other fundraisers have yet to turn in money. Funds can be donated to this year’s event until Aug. 31.

The K&M Tire team Kruisin’ for a Miracle, raised more than $28,000 this year with a little help from a corporate match. The team earned Emerald status, the second awarded in Delphos.

While the goal is to raise money, bringing awareness and support for the disease is just as important for Relay. Committee member Sandy Suever said she enjoyed the Relay just as much as she has in the past and was humbled by so many experiences. She gave and example of one to The Delphos Herald.

“I had a little girl come up to me and give me a roll of money. She said she wanted to give something to Relay so she sold bookmarks,” Suever said. “She is just a kid and she knows how important this is.”

Paige Mericle, 9, made the bookmarks using cardboard and duct tape and sold the to neighbors.

“My mom took the rest to work and the people she works with bought them,” Mericle said.

At her tender age, Mericle had already experienced cancer through her father and uncle.

“My dad had cancer and my Uncle Dan had cancer,” Mericle said. “My dad survived but my uncle didn’t. It was scary. If the doctors get enough money, maybe they can find a cure. I just wanted to do something.”

Mericle is the daughter of Mark and Julia Mericle and is a student at Franklin Elementary.