BUCKHANNON — Each day, cancer survivors are fighting for their lives against a known enemy, but a new disease this year, COVID-19, threatened to derail a longstanding tradition – the 23rd Upshur County Relay for Life.
Since the pandemic began in the United States in March, team meetings have been canceled and fundraising had to be done virtually.
When it came to the signature event, a six-hour Relay for Life bringing together dozens of people to fight back against cancer and celebrate the successes, the committee knew that would not be possible.
A new idea was born – to bring survivors together in a socially distanced version of Upshur County Relay for Life – a car parade.
On Saturday, July 18, the event was kept to just under an hour at Buckhannon-Upshur High School. Event Lead Daisy Hunt said, “I think tonight went really well. We didn’t have a lot of cars here, but the ones we did have were very appreciative. They are here year after year, and they are our faithful few. It’s important to them that we did do something. I feel good about it.”
Hunt recognized Upshur County Schools for allowing the Survivor Parade and Luminaria Parade to take place at the high school. Organizers were appreciative to Buckhannon Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS) and Banks District Volunteer Fire Department for providing traffic management and DJ Brad Allen for emceeing the event and making the Relay a success.
She also acknowledged the difficulties COVID-19 had brought to Upshur County Relay for Life, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society. “As soon as we can, we will be back out there doing fundraisers,” Hunt assured. “We still have our Bowl-a-thon that we would really like to do. We had planned a big yard sale this year and that didn’t pan out. Hopefully within the next couple of years, we will get back on track and be able to do our fundraisers. They not only make money, but they get us out in the community and get the word out. That is important too. People know there is a way they can get help if they need it and there is a way they can contribute and pay it back.”
“I want a big thank you to go out to our committee,” Hunt exclaimed. “We have an awesome committee. They stepped up, put in more hours, and came up with some awesome ideas. This wouldn’t have happened without the committee we have.”
The evening included speeches from breast cancer survivor Shanda Hoover and caregiver Brad Lincicome who shared about his wife Kim’s cancer journey.
Donna Foster sang during the Luminaria Service and Rev. Ralph Miller gave the opening and closing prayers for Relay.
To learn more about how to get involved in the 24th Upshur County Relay for Life, watch the Upshur County Relay for Life Facebook page and visit www.relayforlife.org/upshurwv.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2.5 million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 22 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress; 14.5 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're determined to finish the fight against cancer. We're finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help, or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.