A group of more than 25 volunteers from Columbia College recently gathered on campus to celebrate the college being named Relay for Life of Boone County’s top fundraiser for 2014. The dedicated group raised more than $20,800, which ranked among the top 20 teams in Missouri.

“I am just so incredibly excited! Everyone worked really hard and put in a lot hours,” said Michael Garver, Columbia College academic advisor and Relay for Life volunteer. “Every month we’re asking our team members to step up and volunteer their time and to see the results of our work makes it even that much more special.”

Relay for Life is the American Cancer Society’s largest fundraiser with events held around the world. The funds raised during the events go toward cancer research, prevention and treatment. According to Joy Shawley, community manager for Relay for Life, the Boone County event raised nearly $100,000, with the Columbia College team raising more than 20 percent of that total.

“When we talk to different colleges about how successful they can be, Columbia College is one of the examples we go back to right away,” Relay for Life Community Manager Jessica EllisRelay_Pawon said to the group gathered for the celebration. “You guys are definitely an amazing example for us, and the passion behind the fundraising is really great and we appreciate teams like yours.”

While the upcoming Boone County Relay for Life event is set for May 9, the Columbia College team holds fundraising events throughout the year, such as its recent trivia night, which brought in nearly $2,000. The college has participated in the Boone County Relay for Life since 2000.

“There are two benefits, I believe, to working on this team,” Garver said. “One is, obviously, raising money for Relay for Life and cancer research, but it also gave me the opportunity to meet people I work with every day on a different level. I’ve made a lot of great bonds and friendships that I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to make before.”

Members of the Columbia College Relay for Life team include:

Amber Barringer, Jeff Barringer, Misty Bush, Christine Chirko, Tonia Compton, Eric Cunningham, Tery Donelson, Cindy Dunn, Michael Garver, Phyllis Grant, Suzanne Hickman, Stephanie Johnson, Kim Kleigel, Gary Massey, René Massey, Stephanie McCollum, Erin McConachie, Jackie McKee, Tina McNeil, Marilyn Minor, Jade Murdock, Susan Nodine, Allyson Presley, Carmen Price, Sonda Ridgway, Erin Scott, Martha Smith, Kathy Trabue, Jason Valentine, Katie Wheeler and Becky Widener.