BERKELEY – Although the coronavirus and poor weather kept the latest Berkeley-Lacey Relay for Life very small, it far exceeded its fundraising goals. However, there are concerns about whether the annual event will come back next year.
Event Lead Roxanne Stephens said the weather forecast scared a lot of people off. The sky was gloomy, and at one point there was even thunder.
Initially, they set a fundraising goal of $20,000, she said. Once they surpassed that, their goal was increased and they met the new goal as well. All in all, they brought in about $42,000, which is a strong showing.
The fundraising goes toward the American Cancer Society, which has donated more than $5 billion to cancer research since 1946.
“It was one of our smaller events. We only had seven or eight teams, but these teams were there for the absolute best reasons. It was probably one of my favorite relays,” Stephens said.
The same hallmarks of previous years took place again: the survivor luncheon, a survivor lap, and a caregiver lap. At night, almost 400 luminarias were placed around the track. These bags are decorated in memory of a loved one and given a battery-powered light, breaking up the darkness.
Last year, the event was supposed to be held in the summer, but COVID numbers were too high so it got pushed to the fall. But in fall, the numbers were still high in the county so the group changed the walk to a drive-by celebration.
The fundraiser is 100% outside, and social distancing is possible. However, the event brings together cancer survivors who are high risk if they got sick. It also has caregivers who could potentially expose cancer patients.
Other relays have been held recently in Brick, New Egypt, and Howell.
The Last Relay?
The Berkeley-Lacey Relay for Life might be on its last lap. Stephens said this is her last time leading the event. It takes a lot of volunteer help to organize and run this, and without an influx of volunteers, she fears that this might be the end.
If you’re interested in getting involved, email email@example.com.