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Relay for Life kicks off virtually in 2020

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    Residents got together to walk at last year’s event, having fun and celebrating their loved ones. CONTRIBUTED

Relay for Life in Jones County will kick off later this month virtually, celebrating survivors, those still fighting and those who have passed away due to cancer.

Anna Scott, the community development manager for Jones County, said she started working with the American Cancer Society in January, right before COVID-19 hit. She said she can’t wait to see how Relay for Life normally works in Jones County.

“Relay for Life is a time to come together and celebrate survivors, their families, and those fighting through cancer,” she said. “It’s another way to raise funds to support our mission, to fight cancer and continue our services for patients and their families.”

She said Jones County is a big family, and everyone can see that. She said people in the county have the compassion and love to help others. She said residents rally around those who need help.

“Cancer touches everyone’s life in some way, and Relay for Life is just another way everyone rallies together to help. It’s a terrible disease, and if we can eradicate it, then that would just be the best thing ever,” Scott said.

The community development manager said this year each week of the virtual Relay for Life will be something different. She said one week will be dedicated to the teams, another will be for sponsors, another to survivors, and so on. She said people interested in watching Relay should keep a close eye on Facebook for when the event will be happening later this month.

“The virtual will be about showing all the hard work and passion that has gone into Relay for 2020,” the community development manager said. “We want people to celebrate what we were able to accomplish, even though COVID-19 has gotten in the way of the traditional celebration.”

Scott said people can access the Relay for Life celebrations by visiting the Relay for Life of Jones County Facebook page and She said residents can visit the website and register for Relay for Life 2021 now if they wish.

“We can’t come together as a group, but if people want to take laps around their neighborhood and take photos, that would be great. They can post the photos and do a tag about Relay for Life. They can post about why they are doing this, which is the main mission for us,” Scott said.

She said 2020 has been hard for Relay for Life, but it’s important for those in Jones County to celebrate the small victories. She said no one is alone in their fight, even though it may feel that way due to having to social distance.

The community development manager said people can donate to Relay for Life by registering, starting their own team, using the fundraising app, going to a team’s page, or by going to the Relay for Life website. She said those who want to help can donate at any time, not just during the event.

“We need the funds now. We have taken quite a hit with COVID-19,” she said. “Our mission, research and funding is on the line. If the trend continues, we are going to lose half of our research funding. This could put us back a decade in our advancements.”

Scott said no one knows what to expect for 2021, but she hopes there will be some sense of normalcy where everyone can come together again. She said it will make things even more special.

“You meet the best people through doing Relay for Life,” the community development manager said. “We have great volunteers who are just so loving, and they are an amazing group of people. It’s not the same on a Zoom meeting, so I’m eager to get back to real life in 2021.”