Miss-Lou Relay for Life named top Relay fundraiser per capita nationwide

Published 12:17 am Sunday, February 11, 2018

by Sabrina Simms

NATCHEZ — Organizers with the Miss-Lou Relay for Life learned this week the annual event was ranked the No. 1 per capita fundraising Relay event in the nation for 2017.

After many years of placing in the list of Top 10 fundraising communities per capita in the nation, the Miss-Lou Relay for Life chapter learned Thursday of the group’s accomplishment.

Email newsletter signup

“I cried,” Miss-Lou Relay for Life co-chair Julia Drews said. “It’s awesome … Per capita, we beat regions like Jackson. For our community to be so small, no big industries, just small businesses and families, it’s just amazing that everybody feels that way about Relay for Life. … There are survivors today that would not be here if not for American Cancer Society and their research.”

The Miss-Lou has raised nearly $3 million since the local Relay began in 1995.

“A lot of it is just Southern hospitality,” co-chair Janis Holder said. “Women were raised to be generous and compassionate, to love your neighbor.”

Drews, Holder and fellow organizer Sherry Kiser said they are especially thankful that the region surrounding Vidalia and Natchez continues to show its generosity despite a declining economy.

“When we started out in 1995 we were in the Natchez Mall parking lot,” Holder said. “We had several different industries and now we don’t have any of those.”

Holder said Natchez has since lost several contributing industries such as Fruit of the Loom, Fidelity Tire Company and Johns Manville.

Drews said fundraising teams now consist of churches, schools, friends and small businesses.

“(Contributors are) all just this local little family,” Drews said. “It’s just amazing what they do. … There’s so many other good organizations (for cancer research), but this one just took off for some reason.”

Still, Drews said, the area continues to outshine other fundraising regions in Relay for Life, and they have many contributors to thank.

The next relay will be May 4 at the sports complex in Vidalia. Drews said lots of good food, games and competitions. She said the event, as always, will be family friendly with no alcohol or smoking allowed.

“(Participants) get real competitive with each other … like a family,” Drews said.

Donations for Relay for Life can be mailed to P.O. Box 1027 Natchez, MS 39121.