A smaller than usual crowd attended the fourth annual Relay for Life, but that didnt reduce the spirit of giving at this years event.

At the close of the Relay, the 12 teams that participated raised $36,250, Relay chairwoman Leanne McCurley said Saturday. It was estimated the silent auction raised another $1,500.

Donations are expected to top $40,000, McCurley announced.

McCurley said she was depressed Thursday night because the funds raised were down. However, she was impressed that the donations had doubled during the 16-hour Relay at Elmer Bankus Field at Brookings-Harbor High School.

Family Security Banks team raised the most donations. It raised $3,006, McCurley said. More than half of the teams donations was raised by team member Pat Oar.

Oar raised $1,700, more contributions than any other person, McCurley said.

This is the last year Family Security Bank will participate in the Relay, McCurley said. The bank is becoming Umpqua Bank, but McCurley said she hopes to see the same group participate.

It appeared to be a battle of the financial institutions with Chetco Federal Credit Unions team came in second place, $99 behind Family Security Bank.

However, the two institutions enjoyed a camaraderie at the event, which ended with a credit union teller passing out bananas to bank employees.

The Relay began Friday night with an opening ceremony that included a welcome by American Cancer Society representative Michelle Parker and the reading of a proclamation by Brookings Mayor Bob Hagbom.

The national anthem was sung by Heather Cavaness, Randy McClelland-Bane and Mia Zepeda while Boy Scouts from Troop 32 presented the colors.

Grand marshals Carl DuPree and Ann Moore were introduced. Each was awarded a Relay for Life jacket. Both told their stories of survival. Moore added a list of things women can do to detect breast cancer.

Special cancer survivors were introduced. The oldest survivor was Esther Ketchem. Evelyn Barber was recognized as surviving the longest. She has been a survivor for the past 43 years.

Bud Abrams was introduced as the most recent to be given the title of cancer survivor. He has been a survivor for three weeks.

The youngest survivor introduced was Brice Aldrich, 6, who has been a cancer survivor for the past five years.

Brice joined the survivors lap carrying a stuffed elephant. Elephants were the theme animals for the Relay. Each cancer survivor that registered received an elephant balloon.

The survivors lap was the first lap of the Relay. During the lap, the names of survivors and how long they have been a survivor were read.

When the lap was completed, survivors participated in a reception while team members began walking their laps or participating in events on the field.

One of the activities that took place following the opening ceremony was the erecting of tents. Tents were set up that afternoon, however, wind gusts blew down some of them.

Many participants Friday evening said they hoped the wind would stay calm until after the Relay, then pick up for the following afternoons Kite Festival.

Among the more popular activities was a dunk tank, although Cliff Robison, who was the caller, was having trouble garnering volunteers to be dunked.

Many people walked the track, browsed the silent auction, shopped at the Relay store or reclined around their tents.

Highlighting the event was the luminary ceremony at 10 p.m. Luminaries, paper bags filled with sand holding a lighted candle, lined the perimeter of the track. Each luminary had the name of a person who battled cancer.

All participants gathered in the stands to sing One Lighted Candle. After honoring those who battled the disease, people gathered on the track to take one lap with a lighted candle. At the end of the lap, they passed the candle to another person until everyone took one lap.

Plans are under way for the fifth annual Relay for Life scheduled for July 19 and 20, 2002. The theme for next years Relay is A Relay Roundup, McCurley said.