For seven years, Melani Green has sponsored a Relay for Life team in memory of her grandmother.
"We want to help other people," said Green at the campsite for the M.E. Green House team at Relay for Life. "We know what it is like to lose someone to cancer. We have so many people in our family that have had cancer so we come every year just to raise money to help other people."
Green's team was one of 23 teams who participated in the 25th annual Relay for Life of Marlboro County on May 18 at Marlboro County High School.
"This is what my family does and we get together as a family to do this," Green said.
The event exceeded its goal of $40,000 by raising $60,166.83 for the American Cancer Society.
Bridges, event lead for the Marlboro County Relay for Life, said she expected more money to be turned in.
"I am very pleased with exceeding the goal. The turnout was low, but we had fun," she said. "That is exactly what I wanted for the 25th anniversary."
After this Relay, Bridges is not planning to chair Relay for Life in 2020.
"Unfortunately, I cannot dedicate the time that is needed to be the event lead," she said. "However, I will be involved in some capacity. We are currently looking to fill the position."
She thanked American Cancer Society Staff partner Chinel Boateng for being the best staff partner and the team captains and their teams for their hard work and for believing in Relay for Life.
Bridges also thanked Survivor Chairperson Patricia Blair-David, Luminaria Chair Mary Fennell, Tonja Williams, and her family – Team Walkie Talkies, who came from everywhere to support her at her last event as event lead.
"Most of all I want to thank those who have battled with cancer," she said. "You have so much courage. You are the reason I will continue to fight."
Boateng presented Bridges with an award for her years of leadership for the Relay for Life of Marlboro County.
Bernice David was presented with a 25-year plaque for her years of Relay for Life Dedication. This year her team, David Family and Friends, raised $20,455.74.
Michael Toms, president of the Bennettsville-Cheraw Area Cooperative Ministry, which is a mentoring group for young men 8-18, was at the event helped with Relay for Life and celebrated life.
He was a caregiver for his wife, who died of cancer.
"We are here in support and walk in her honor," Toms said.
He encouraged people to not only get involved with Relay for Life but also be involved with the community.
"Cancer touches someone in every family whether you realize it or not," Toms said. "Cancer has been a silent killer and a lot of people are going through it silently without anyone."