Soroptimists, Edith Laurin are top fund raisers

 Taft's 2014 Relay for Life is in the books and it raised just over $60,000 for cancer research.

Organizers were a little disappointed at the drop in money raised from Taft's sixth American Cancer Society event, but said they will come back next year with a bigger and better relay.

“We're going to spice it up next year,” said Donna Hermann, the ACS staff partner for the Taft relay.

The relay raised over $100,000 each year in the first couple of years and last year raised more than $90,000.

Soroptimist Club was the top money raising team for 2014.

The club's team, SWAK (Soroptimist Women Against Cancer) raised $10,010.

Kisers and Friends Kicking Cancer was second, $5,659 and Team Kicking Cancer in the Cods was third with with $5,463.89.

Edith Laurin was the top individual fundraiser with $6,075, Connie Lucker raised $3,029 and Debbie Kiser was third with $2,139.

This year there were 43 teams entered this year, so there were a healthy number of entries, but Hermann said the relay needs more participation from the individual team members.

The 2014 Taft relay kicked off with the survivor's lap carrying the torch this year was Ken Swope, who lost his wife to cancer a year ago and is battling the disease himself.

He started alone at the head of the pack, but was soon joined by his children as he circled the track.

The opening ceremonies included an inspirational talk by Ray Scott.

Scott, a former Taft College student and athlete, is a 22-year cancer survivor.

He is the head of Keep California Beautiful, a nonprofit educational group, administrator of Price Disposal and also a member of the Taft College Foundation Board.