The Relay For Life of Carroll County is preparing for its upcoming “Cruising For a Cure” Relay Parade as an alternative event to support and honor those affected by cancer.
The parade is replacing the usual all-day relay event at the Carroll Athletic Field this year due to COVID-19 guidelines. Carroll County still will recognize those who currently have cancer or have loved ones with cancer, as well as those who have died from the disease, as the county supports the American Cancer Society’s mission with a fundraiser — the format will just be a bit different.
“Despite the changes to our daily lives as a result of the impact of COVID-19, the needs of cancer patients are a constant,” said Kim Durst, ACS senior community development manager, in a news release. “Relay For Life must continue to serve the ACS mission, regardless of how different it may look from any other year.”
Survivors, teams, sponsors and anyone else interested in participating can participate in the parade.
Vehicles will gather at the Carroll Little League Fields at 5 p.m. on June 26 for the parade, which will end near Southside Park. People are welcome to decorate their vehicles, although it’s not a requirement, and wear Relay For Life shirts from past years. The new 2020 T-shirts and pins for survivors will be available at the start and end of the parade.
Curbside “Grab and Go” meals, prepared by Carroll County Cattlemen, will also be provided at the event at Southside Park. The food will be pre-packaged for efficiency and sanitary reasons, said Brad Pick, one of the event co-chairs for Relay For Life of Carroll County along with Brigit Pick and Drs. Carly and Shaun Quam.
The meals will be served from 5 to 7 p.m and are available for a free-will donation. There is no cost for the meal for cancer survivors participating in the parade. Attendees will have the choice between burgers and hot dogs, as well as chips, cookies and drinks.
The event volunteers will bring the meals to the cars, so no passengers need to get out of their vehicles. This will help avoid large gatherings to abide by social distancing guidelines.
Donation buckets will be going around during the parade, Pick said, for those who want to contribute to the cause.
“So we really encourage people to come out and participate and just watch the parade,” he said. “It’s a great way to show their support for the community. We’ve been the top five per capita in fundraising here in Carroll County throughout the last number of years, so that’s something we really pride ourselves in, and we have a great community that backs us for this cause.”
Typically there are ceremonies to recognize survivors and those currently battling cancer, and organizers are looking at ways to offer that in some form during this year’s event by announcing the names of local cancer survivors and the years since their diagnoses.
“With Carroll Broadcasting, we’re still working out some details there,” Pick said of their plans to list the names on the radio. “We might not be able to have the live feed this year just because there’s so many softball games, baseball games and other events kind of going on. Their schedule is just-jam packed.”
Those who want their name or someone else’s included in the recognition should contact Erin Milligan, who is on the Relay’s survivorship committee,at Erinmilligan10@gmail.com or 563-542-4423.
Luminaria bags will line the parade route and Southside Park to honor lives impacted by cancer. Order forms are available at Carroll’s Bank of the West and can be made online. They can be purchased for $10 and have options to personalize.
While purchasing luminaria, people can choose to make an additional donation to Carroll County’s Relay For Life. Donations are requested by June 22, which also is the Relay For Life June Team Bank Day at the Bank of the West.
Relay For Life teams can drop off their fundraising money and orders for luminaria at the drive-up window to the bank on June 22. There is still time for people to register their team at www.relayforlife.org/carrollcountyia. Those wanting to donate can do so there as well.
“We’re just trying to get everybody out back to some sense of normalcy for the Relay For Life,” Pick said in reference to the pandemic.
The American Cancer Society uses Relay for Life funds for initiatives such as providing free rides to chemotherapy and free places to stay near hospitals; staffing a live 24/7 hotline; advocating for health-care legislation; and more, according to its website.
Katie Towers, communication volunteer for Carroll County’s Relay For Life and nurse educator at St. Anthony, said “we can help people with cancer on a broader level” by supporting the American Cancer Society.
“The American Cancer Society is really working to kick cancer down the curb,” she said. “They’re looking to have the best impact (with) the donor dollars.”