Payson's Relay For Life Out-Distances Competition

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With more than $40,000 in the bank so far, the Rim country's Relay for Life benefit for the American Cancer Society has earned more money than any other small town in the state this year.

"Thank you, Rim country, as well as friends and family from around Arizona and the USA, who supported this wonderful relay," event coordinator Ann Riehle said. "Young and old worked very hard to raise funds for our Relay for Life."

With money still rolling in, the top earning teams are:

1. Reaching Out Breast Cancer Support Group (double team) raised $9,483.63;

2. Chaparral Pine Needles, $3,051.87 and still counting;

3. The Mixed Bag (P/S Library and the Bob Hanson Family), $2,866.20;

4. P/S Health Services Auxiliary, $2,864.36;

5. Christopher Creek Characters, $2,668.53;

6. Cookin Up A Cure For Cancer (Dr. Hendersons Team), $2,342.60.

Lynn Andrews earned the most money for a single person that night, netting $1,302, and George Billings was the lucky winner of the Yamaha Big Bear 4x4 ATV, donated by Four Season Motor Sports.

Parry Morton of the Knights for Life captured the first-place award for best decorated booth. Morton designed a castle, which was built by his friends and the students of the Payson High School drama department.

Morton's booth, and a host of others offered children's activities, including a giant slide that was donated by Accent Entertainment/The Carpenter's Wife, and Clark Jones of Prudential Real Estate, who donated his Sky Walker Jumper.

Payson Regional Home Health registered 140 cancer survivors including five children, one only 3 1/2-years old. The Relay also attracted two long-term cancer survivors, one of 49 years, and one a 51-year survivor. Coordinators added up more than 700 years of survivorship on the track that night.

"We also had a fantastic young man, 13-year-old Jeremy Ruff who walked the track the entire time," Riehle said. "There was a group of three who were singing and walking, trying to keep Jeremy awake.

"Young and old were on the track in the fight against cancer."

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