The main event for Grove City’s annual Relay for Life has been canceled, but organizers continue to raise money and awareness for the American Cancer Society.
“It’s important to keep our face in the community,” said Paris Weiland, event lead.
The walk itself is typically a daylong event held at Grove City Community Park; it’s been crossed off the list of activities because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
It would be too large of a gathering according the state’s guidelines, and many participants are in the “high risk” category for contracting viruses, said Weiland, a skin cancer survivor.
This year’s Relay for Life theme was going to reflect the 2020 Summer Olympics in Toyko, which has been moved to 2021. The new theme is “One World. One Dream.”
“We’re all still fighting the same fight,” she said.
There are still a few ways that people can participate and show their support. From July 19 to 27, local businesses and residents are encouraged to decorate their properties with all things purple as part of “Paint the Town Purple.”
Once the decorations are completed, participants can upload photos to the “Pain the Town Purple” Facebook event page, and people can vote for their favorites.
There will be prizes for the top residential and business entries, Weiland said, adding that Ace Hardware in Grove City is selling purple LED lightbulbs.
A drive-thru luminaria ceremony is set for Saturday, July 25, at the park. Anyone can buy luminaria bags in honor of someone who has or had cancer, or in memory of someone who has passed away from cancer.
The bags will line the loop at the front of the park and be lit with glow sticks from 8:30 to 10:30 p.m. Park visitors will be able to drive past the display.
Area residents can also hold their own luminaria ceremonies at their homes by buying the bags, which can be purchased at the Grove City borough building and at Grove City Pools and Spas.
All of the money raised by Grove City Relay for Life teams will fund cancer patient services like a 24-hotline, transportation for treatment, and out-of-town housing when extended travel is necessary.
“There’s never an end to fundraising,” she said.
July 31 is the deadline for this year’s fundraising. The initial goal was $100,000, and Weiland said organizers will be glad if they collect $50,000.
Relay for Life teams haven’t been able to host the usual fundraisers because of the pandemic, and businesses that would like to make contributions have been hit hard financially.
There are currently 15 teams, and they’ve been using social media to help spread the word.
Teams can register through July 25, and organizers are looking for volunteers to help with the luminaria ceremony.