Ripley County Relay for Life wins national award

Mary Mattingly

Ripley County residents should be proud of their support. Relay for Life received a national award for their support to the American Cancer Society.

Ripley Co. Relay for Life

From left, Brandy Graham, ACS specialist; Ronda Linkel, event co-chair; Jeni Schnebelt, event chair; Janice Wilson, committee member; Cheryl Blackburn, committee chair; Jerry Wilson, committee member. Back row, left: Brian Myers and Dennis Westerfeld, both committee members; Cindy Lamping, committee chair; and BJ Myers and Barb Eades, both committee members.

The county organization was recognized as a 2013 American Cancer Society National No. 10 Per Capita Award winner. The nationwide award is given to the top 10 per capita counties in the country based on the net income and enrollment from the Relay in their community.

Ripley County’s net income for 2013 was $135,062, surpassing 2012’s amount by $27,000. This was for the per capita counties with populations between 25,000 and 29,999. There was only one other Indiana county, Posey County, which received the National Community Income Award. Posey County fell in the same population category with Ripley County and placed second in the National Community Income Awards contest in the country .

Brandy Graham of the American Cancer Society, who worked with the county on the Relay campaign commented, “Ripley County is ‘All in to Finish the Fight’ ” against cancer; 2013 was an amazing year for the Ripley County community. They received several state and divisional awards as well as being named 10th in per capita income in the nation, which is not an easy task. I am honored to be a part of this community.”

The relay was led by Jeni Schnebelt of Cross Plains and Ronda Linkel of Batesville. The two have signed on again, Jeni as event chair again and Rhonda as co-chair. This year’s event will once again be at the Batesville High School track on June 21.

“There isn’t just one thing that makes our Relay so successful. There are a lot of things that go into it. Having volunteers that stay motivated and dedicated to this event is so very important and we have some of the best,” Linkel said. They also attributed the success to corporate sponsors for in-kind donations and money, and even the entertainers who energize the crowd for 24 hours.

The Relay has also received other ACS recognition, including the All American Award, which recognizes growth, retention, branding, diversity, and leadership. They also received ACS awards including: “Pacesetters” for reaching the goal at the closing ceremony; the Event Hit Goal award, and Highest Percentage Over Goal, reaching the top three in the division for highest percentage over goal.

For 2014, the team is trying to have another banner year, and they are in the midst of seeking volunteers to recruit fundraising teams, garner community support, coordinate logistics, plan entertainment, and lend a hand to ensure the success of the 2013 Relay For Life of Ripley County. Cancer survivors, caregivers, community leaders, and anyone wanting to make a difference is invited to participate.
Graham said, “As a cancer survivor, I can’t say thank you enough for all of their hard work and dedication against cancer. I look forward to working with them this season as we strive to make this cancer’s last century.”

The next volunteer committee meeting will be held on Monday, March 24, at 6 p.m. at the REMC Training Building in Osgood. The meeting will begin the planning process to support the American Cancer Society’s mission of saving lives by helping people stay well, by helping people get well, by finding cures and by fighting back against the disease.

“One in every 100 Americans participates in this fundraising event that has become a global phenomenon,” said Schnebelt. “Relay For Life is the community’s chance to unite in the fight against cancer and support the American Cancer Society’s efforts to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays. Volunteers and participants who are willing to give their time and energy to this exciting event are making a commitment to let our community know that cancer can be defeated.”

The event is held overnight as individuals and teams camp out at local high schools, parks, fairgrounds, and other gathering places, with the goal of keeping at least one team member on the track at all times throughout the evening, signifying that cancer never sleeps. Teams do most of their fundraising prior to the event, but some teams also hold creative fundraisers at their campsites during Relay.

If you would like to join the Relay For Life of Ripley County as a volunteer or team participant, or be a sponsor, call Schnebelt at 812-571-0297 or email:



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