by Brent Hovey

Reporter

Aurora -- The city, along with the Streetsboro-Mantua areas, enjoyed its most successful Relay For Life in the local fundraiser's eight-year history earlier this month.

Early counts the day after the June 3 conclusion of the event set money raised at $144,000. That number has since grown to more than $160,000.

"That is huge for our little area," said Kathi Grandillo, one of many active volunteers with the Relay committee.

Grandillo said money is still coming in and still being counted. The $160,000 total takes into account the few expenses the committee had.

Last year's Relay For Life was the previous record-setter at $124,000. To raise more than the 2006 amount says a lot about the community, according to Grandillo.

"The event ended up well beyond anyone's expectations," she said. "I think we had set our goal for around the same amount as last year.

"With an event occurring year after year, a lot of times you hit a plateau and I think we thought we were close to that."

Aurora's Relay was rank-ed fifth in the state for money raised online. Last year, Aurora was in the top 20 for money raised per capita by town.

Top money raising team was the Banbury Braves for the second straight year. It earned a Purple Award (raising between $30,000 and $39,000) with $32,722.

THE TEAM from Walden raised the second most and earned a Diamond Award given to a squad which nets between $20,000 and $29,000. Also earning that honor were the Aurora schools.

Other awards went to the Aurora High team for most money raised by a youth group ($2,525).

JIT Packaging took home the award for most money raised by an adult team with less than 15 members.

Banbury Braves raised the most money online, while Charles Richardson of Team Nietert won most money raised by an individual online and Michael Jones of Curves of Aurora raised the most by a youth.

Spirit awards went to Team Nietert for best team theme -- "Taking the Mission Coast to Coast and Making a Cure Possible."

Best team theme with a cancer message went to Dream Team -- "On a Mission to Destroy Cancer."

Best team banner went to Centerville Trail -- "It'll Take More Than Wishin' To Accomplish This Mission" -- while Harmon School won best team T-shirts and the Banbury Braves won best campsite decorations.

Best Relay stick was won by Hope Lutheran Church, while Gail's Gang won the team spirit award, Clowns For a Cure was selected rookie team of the year and Kara Trem was awarded the most spirited individual.

With the 2007 Relay For Life coming to a close, organizers are already turning their attention to next year and the ninth annual event.

Grandillo said the group has some volunteers already lined up, but is looking for some new faces to take over co-chair positions.

E-mail: bhovey@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-688-0088 ext. 3115