ALBANY -- On Feb. 6, a black-tie event was held for the local chapter of the American Cancer Society to drum up funds.
They ended up making history.
The third annual HOPE Ball, hosted at the Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Albany, had a sold-out crowd of 300 people. The total raised was $48,675 -- the largest total in the history of the event.
"This sets a record in terms of attendance," said Lark Ledbetter, co-chairman of the HOPE Ball committee. "We are extremely thrilled at the amount raised given the competition and the economy.
"The committee pulled together and worked hard to make it a success."
Wyatt Mitchell, a 24-year-old cancer survivor, and Dr. Terry Kraus, a radiation oncologist, were the honorees.
"The honoree addresses were very touching," Ledbetter said.
The event included cocktails, dinner and a silent and live auction, followed by entertainment and dancing.
"We did a great job; we are just amazed at the response we got," said event Chair Glenda Rambo. "We want to thank the community, our sponsors and anyone else that supported us in any way."
The American Cancer Society assists patients in the area with expenses such as gas and pain medication. In addition to that, the money raised at the fundraiser will go to advocacy, research and awareness.
"(The event's success) really showed the community's support," said Kathy Furney, the area chapter's community manager. "I think the honorees had a lot do with that.
"Members of the community just continue to inspire. We focus on not just one type of cancer, but all types of cancer. This shows that the community truly supports the local chapter."
The 2009 event attracted 200 people and raised $46,000, which was the goal officials had set for the most recent event. Plans are already under way for next year's gala.
"We hope to exceed what we did this year (at the 2011 event)," Rambo said. "Cancer touches the lives of all of us. The goal of the Cancer Society is to give hope to cancer patients and their families."
The chapter based in Albany assists 50-60 cancer patients a month in Dougherty and Lee counties. For more information on their services, call (229) 446-1073.