ST. CROIX — The V.I. Chapter of the American Cancer Society is preparing to get the community involved to raise money and awareness for the fight against cancer with an in-person event.
The 20th anniversary of Relay for Life will be held July 10-11 at the St. Croix Educational Complex Track with the theme “Conquering Cancer, One Color at a Time.” It is the biggest fundraiser for the organization and the start will be at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 10, with a wrap up of activities ending at noon that Sunday.
Relay for Life chairperson Rosalie Javois said due to the pandemic, last year’s Relay for Life was a socially distanced event in the form of a motorcade. This year organizers plan on returning to the traditional in-person event as more residents get vaccinated and continue to adhere to social distancing mandates and the wearing of masks.
“Being the optimistic and enthusiastic committee that we are, we are preparing and putting things in place to see an in-person Relay for Life event this year,” Javois said. “We missed the grand show of community spirit and support and we are working on ways to safely bring that back.”
Organizers meantime have been working with the Health Department and V.I. Police to ensure properly implemented protocols and safety measures will be in place for a safe event.
“We are hopeful but still being very cautious because we don’t want any issues,” Javois said. “We will look at our COVID-19 numbers, and play it by ear.”
Nationwide, Relay for Life is a fun-filled overnight event designed to celebrate survivors and raise money for research and programs. Teams pitch tents and decorate them, and group members take turns walking or running laps at the chosen venue. Each team keeps at least one person on the track always, even throughout the night, reminding everyone that cancer never sleeps.
Teams representing schools, families, friends, churches, government agencies, politicians and housing associations are encouraged to begin organizing. A team consists of a maximum of 15 persons who each must raise a minimum of $100 to go toward the team’s minimum donation of $1,500.
Martha Mills is the co-chair of the Teams Committee for Relay for Life.
“We had our kickoff April 10th and we welcomed back some of our former teams and welcomed some newly formed teams as well,” she said. “Everyone is excited for what they can do as a team to help the Relay and the patients we assist.”
Mills said the goal is to have a minimum of 40 teams and they are almost halfway there. “We are always grateful for all of the support we get from the community because the more we are assisted, the more we can assist our cancer patients,” she said.
She added, “we want this to be a great event so everyone who knows someone who has had cancer, whether they beat cancer, still fighting cancer or lost their fight, we want them to come out and form a time in their honor or in their memory.”
A relay event has not yet been scheduled for St. Thomas, but Javois said some territorial agencies are planning to add teams or supplement teams by adding teammates from St. Thomas.
To register, call Mills at 340-690-6414. To sign on as an event sponsor or for additional information call Javois at 340-513-4620.