Relay for Life events both virtual and in-person

Relay for Life events both virtual and in-person

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life will still be a little different this year because of COVID-19, but it’s inching back closer to normalcy, according to American Cancer Society senior development manager Baylee Diedrich.

“We are thankful to be able to get together for the community-based drive in a safe format again this year, even if it’s not totally the traditional event we’ve come to know,” Diedrich said.

This year’s event will be part virtual and part in-person at the fairgrounds.

The event will culminate with a socially distanced live program on Sunday, June 13 from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Wayne County Fairgrounds, 199 Vanover St. Vehicles should enter the fairgrounds at gate one on Vanover Street.

“We know that due to COVID-19, cancer screenings and fundraising from this past year are down, so there’s still a lot that needs to be done,” Diedrich said. “It will be a night of celebration, hope and remembrance for Wayne County.”

The opening ceremony drive-thru parade will start with participants decorating their cars at 5:30 p.m. The drive-thru will be available until 8:30 p.m.

An opening ceremony will be held at 6 p.m., the survivor lap and luminaries at 6:30 p.m., and the event will conclude at 8:30 p.m.

The event provides the time for participants to commit to take action and help lead the fight for a world free from cancer.

“It’s a time to celebrate what we’ve accomplished together and a time to unify for the work that needs to be done moving forward,” Diedrich said. “I can’t thank the fairgrounds personnel enough; they have been so amazing and accommodating. Every dollar we can raise brings us closer to research and a cure for cancer.”

The fundraising goal for this year is $125,000, and approximately $98,000 has been raised so far this year.

Donations help fund groundbreaking cancer research and patient care programs and can make a difference in saving lives in local communities, according to the Relay for Life website.

This year’s Relay for Life Spirit Week will run the week of June 7-12 and allow participation in several virtual observances.

Participants are encouraged to join in daily reflections and activities and upload their posts to #relayforlifeofwayneco2021 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. People without a social-media presence can still participate by emailing their pictures to to be featured on the Relay for Life website.

Monday’s topic will be “Why Do You Relay?” Participants are encouraged to share their inspirations and motivations for continuing the fight against cancer.

Tuesday is “Talk a Walk on the Relay Side,” where participants snap a selfie of themselves and their crew walking through their neighborhood wearing their favorite Relay shirts.

For “Warrior Wednesday,” participants share their cancer journey (if they feel comfortable). Uploading a picture will honor healthcare workers, cancer survivors and caregivers.

“Throwback Thursday” includes sharing a favorite Relay memory.

Friday’s observance is “Colors of Cancer.” Participants choose a color of cancer awareness to represent their mission moment for cancer awareness.

Saturday is “Purple Out,” and participants wear as much purple as they can.

On display at the fairgrounds on Saturday, luminaria will honor every life touched by cancer.

“These are in dedication to a loved one lost, someone currently battling or anyone who has overcome cancer,” Diedrich said.

Luminarias are decorated with names and sometimes messages to the people they’re dedicated to.

To participate with your luminaria, register at Relay’s website at

In a fundraiser leading up to the Relay, chocolatier Brenda Ziegler will take orders for Relay for Life candy bars. Candy bars are available in four varieties: almond, krispie, peanut butter and caramel. The cost to those who wish to participate by selling the bars is $15 for a bag of 30. Each candy bar is sold for $1, and it raises $15 per bag. Each bag contains only one variety of candy bar. Those interested should email Brenda at or call 330-345-3569 to place their order.

Local support is the foundation of the Relay for Life.

Diedrich said, “We have dozens of local companies, teams and individuals participating and making very substantial and greatly appreciated donations — too many to name.”

For more information or to make a donation, visit Relay’s Facebook page at and its website at

Rhonda Edgerton can be emailed at

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