OLD TOWN, Maine — One of the area’s longest-running cancer fundraising events easily surpassed its goals, organizers announced Saturday afternoon.
Organizers of the Relay for Life said during the event’s closing ceremony that $179,000 had been raised already and another $2,000 could still be coming in the form of matching funds.
That figure will surpass last year’s gross total by more than $6,000.
One fundraising team expressed its excitement in an unusual way.
At about 9:30 a.m. Saturday, a Relay for Life volunteer visited the campsite being used by Audrey Brissette and her team to let the group know it had passed the $2,500 level in the cancer fundraiser.
So what did Brissette and her group do when they heard the news? Why, what any group named Team Twitter would do.
“The first thing we did was, we all got out our [cell] phones and Tweeted it,” said Brissette, a 30-year-old Bangor resident.
Team Twitter was one of dozens of groups participating in the 17th annual fundraiser, which is affiliated with the American Cancer Society and held at the Old Town High School football field and track.
The Relay for Life participants circled the gravel track from 6 p.m. Friday to after noon Saturday.
The event is known for different themes in each hour, such as the 2-3 a.m. pajama hour. There are also activities such as midnight karaoke, early morning movies, live music and a Wiffle ball tournament.
Some participants also light luminarias that circle the track.
The first lap began at 6 p.m. Friday, and was for survivors and caregivers.
The survivors’ walk provided a special moment for Brissette, who saw her grandmother, Ann Spencer of Milford, participate in the Relay for Life. Spencer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1989.
“It was just brilliant that my grandmother took the walk this year,” said Brissette, who was in her first year as a team captain after 14 years of being involved with the Relay for Life as a participant. “This was the first year she really felt comfortable enough to do it.”
Team Twitter — which Brissette said should hit $2,900 when the final numbers are tallied — paid tribute to Spencer and other breast cancer survivors Friday night and earlier Saturday, when the team members hung bras from one of the goalposts of the Old Town High School football field.
The bras will be donated to Athena’s Cup, a Rhode Island-based organization attempting to make a chain of what would be a world-record 169,000 bras. The organization’s goal is to raise money and awareness.
Brissette’s team took its inspiration from something much shorter — the website Twitter, a social networking site where members can post updates, or Tweets, of 140 characters or less.
Team Twitter tweeted throughout the night, said Brissette, who has around 250 followers on Twitter since joining the site around 1½ years ago.
“Most of our communication [throughout the fundraising process] was via Twitter,” she said. “It started as a joke about having a Team Twitter, but a lot of people said, ‘You know, I would do that. I would join.’ We had so many people that were affected by cancer, so we decided to go for it.”