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Hilmar Relay for Life earns state-wide awards for fundraising
relay award
Hilmar Relay for Life chairpersons Kelly Fultz and Susan Cozzitorto-Ormonde accept a Special Recognition Award from American Cancer Society board members and California Division CEO David Veneziano. - photo by Photo Contributed

When a community comes together for one purpose mighty things can happen. When that community is Hilmar and the cause is cancer research and education the result is record-breaking fundraising for the American Cancer Society through its Relay for Life event.

Over 900 walkers filled the Hilmar High School track for 24 hours in April, showing their support for local cancer survivors and raising money to fund research and services through the American Cancer Society. Their efforts raised $183,000 and earned the inaugural Hilmar event four “Baby Relay” awards and a Special Recognition Award from the American Cancer Society California Division.

“We were hoping for a successful event, but we really had no idea what to expect,” said Hilmar Relay for Life chairperson Kelly Fultz. “Hilmar’s just so supportive of what goes on in their community.”

Fultz, along with her event co-chair Susan Cozzitorto-Ormonde, accepted the Special Recognition Award at the Relay for Life California Summit held in Garden Grove last weekend. Hilmar swept the “Baby Relay” awards category for number of teams (49), number of survivors participating (112), income raised, and event excellence.

The ACS advises “Baby Relays” — first-year events — to aim for 20 teams, 20 cancer survivors participating and a $20,000 fundraising goal. Hilmar Relay for Life went above and beyond those expectations, which earned the team the Special Recognition Award.

When Fultz and Team Development Coordinator Trina Walley arrived at the California Relay for Life Summit they were often asked exactly where Hilmar was located; but after the awards ceremony, that changed.

“Hilmar is such a small town, nobody really had heard of it before,” Fultz said. “By the time we left, everyone knew about Hilmar Relay for Life.”

The Hilmar Relay for Life team is already busy planning the 2013 event.

Fultz, Walley and Cozzitorto-Ormonde are looking forward to using ideas they picked up at the California Summit to make the 2013 event even more successful.

“It gives you an overwhelming feeling that so many people are trying to make a difference in the world,” said Cozzitorto-Ormonde about the California Summit.

“We really want to focus on education (with the 2013 event),” she said. “We’ll be calling on teams to help educate participants on different types of cancer and prevention.”

The Hilmar Relay for Life event kick-off is set for 6:30 p.m. Oct. 15 at Holy Rosary Church, 8471 Cypress St., Hilmar. The kick-off is open to anyone interested in being a part of the 2013 Hilmar Relay for Life. For more information about the kick-off, contact Kelly Fultz at 602-2427 or Trina Walley at 216-7791.