The Heart of the Basin Relay for Life kicked off their ninth annual event during a party hosted at Othello Community Hospital Tuesday, Feb. 12. The night's event featured speakers who shared information, prizes and a silent auction to raise money for this summer's relay. Last year, Othello's Relay for Life brought in more than $80,000 and Event Chair Jenn Stevenson hopes to increase the amount of money even more by the time the Relay begins July 26. Stevenson said most of the money their organization brings in comes during the relay itself, but that doesn't mean people should put their fundraising efforts off until then. In fact, at this early point in fundraising efforts, the group has already raised more than $2,500. "We are a very profitable relay for our size," Stevenson said. So profitable even that for three years running now, the Heart of the Basin Relay for Life has brought in some of the most money per capita in the Great West Division consisting of 13 states. They've taken second place in the category for the past three years and with the way the event's fundraising and community report keep snowballing, Stevenson hopes they'll continue that and make more progress in other areas, as well. Their goals for the year include raising $82,000, have more than 20 active teams, win the Terry Zahn Award (only three given out nationwide) and to increase the number of Grand Club members. "A grand club member is someone who brought in $1,000 on their own," Stevenson said. "Two or three years (ago), we had only had one, possibly two, was the max that we ever had in a year, but last year, we had 12." Othello's 2013 relay got started before Christmas last year, well before last Tuesday's kickoff event. The more time committed to fighting against cancer, the better to Stevenson and her team. At the onset of the meeting, she asked the attendees to raise their hands if they knew somebody affected by cancer. Not a single hand stayed down. Even despite being a small town, Relay for Life has a massive impact and the more people who participate, the better, Stevenson said. There are plenty of resources for cancer patients. It just takes more awareness and donations to increase their availability. For 2012, donations helped to fund three gas cards for patients' travel expenses, 34 complimentary hotel stays to four patients, 21 Cancer Resource Center visits to 15 patients and much more provided to Adams County residents. According to Stevenson, those are only a small amount of the ways volunteering and donations to the relay can make a difference to cancer patients. People can even donate used electronics like cell phones to drop boxes at Pro-Build and Sterling Savings Bank to help contribute. To get involved with this year's Relay for Life, visit the RFL website at heartofthebasinrfl.org or call (800) ACS-2345.