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The local Relay For Life fundraiser begins at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 25 online and in several Prineville neighborhoods

CENTRAL OREGONIAN - Ever-changing rules related to the COVID-19 pandemic have forced changes to the 2020 Relay For Life plans in Crook County, but the event will still take place this weekend.

The Prepper Up parking lot was going to be the headquarters of the annual Relay For Life fundraiser this Saturday in Prineville, but new state guidelines have forced event organizers to change their plans.

"All of the events that day will be on Facebook live so people can log on to watch," said Kristi Jackson, who is helping chair the event.

Not willing to let Relay For Life be another victim of the COVID-19 pandemic, participants will be Surfing for a Cure this Saturday when the 21st annual community event is livestreamed and physically distanced around town.

"It keeps changing because we're trying to stay on top of requirements. Relay is NOT canceled," event chair Pam Jackson said. "Everybody's life has been impacted by COVID-19, but cancer is still going. We're still having to fight, and we're still losing people to this disease. Instead of taking Relay away, COVID has simply changed the way we do it."

The American Cancer Society fundraiser begins with a livestream opening ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 25 on the Crook County Relay For Life Facebook page.

Relay For Life is an organized community fundraising walk. The relay recognizes, honors and celebrates all who have fought a battle with cancer while raising funds to support cancer research and provide resources to those with cancer.

Normally, teams of participants camp out around a large track, and members of each team take turns walking around the track for the duration of the event. Food, games and activities provide entertainment and build camaraderie during the family-friendly event that is open to the community.

In past years, the event has lasted 24 hours and been held at the Crook County Fairgrounds or Ward Rhoden Stadium. The current COVID-19 pandemic and Phase 2 requirements to maintain physical distancing forced organizers to make it a 12-hour event and change the location — not once, but twice.

The registration booth, Relay For Life store and the survivor's tent will no longer be at Prepper Up. The silent auction will still happen, but it will be online. Look for a link on the group Facebook page.

During the virtual opening ceremony, Powell Butte couple Mike and Donna Mohan will be the featured motivational speakers.

"They are both cancer survivors and caregivers, so they cover both territories," Pam said. "They will share their unique experiences."

Six of the nine teams will gather at their "campsites" throughout Prineville, which they will decorate with the surfing theme. Those teams have selected the home of a member to be their team campsite. Team members will take turns walking laps around their neighborhood, concluding with a survivor and caregiver lap around 9 p.m.

"Anyone who is a survivor, a caregiver, or who would like to walk in honor of someone may join the laps," Kristi said, adding that survivors do not have to be part of a Relay team to participate in the laps.

The closing ceremony and traditional luminaria ceremony, which remembers those fighting and those who have lost the battle to cancer, will begin at 9:30 p.m. They were originally scheduled to be held on the Crook County Courthouse front steps and lawn. Instead, they will be on Facebook live.

"Each team will highlight the luminarias in their yard," Pam said, adding that the closing ceremony will include cancer survivor poems, music and a video.

Those who would like to visit a campsite on Saturday and help Surf for a Cure will need to fill out a registration form.

"If you're driving around or have a special connection to a team, you're welcome to join in, keeping your physical distance," Pam said. "Cans and bottles, nickels, dimes, pennies, cash or check — we'll take it all. Everything helps us fight."

At last count, the nearly 40 members of the nine teams had raised around $9,000 for Relay For Life.

Les Schwab Tire Centers donated $10,000 and is a diamond presenting sponsor for the Crook County Relay. Les Schwab usually donates $10,000 each year, and Relay participants are very grateful for the company's continued funding.

"We still need everybody's support," Pam said. "There's no way we can fight and care for these people without everybody's support."

Sidebar

Relay For Life of Crook County

Date: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, July 25

Prineville campsites:

Pam's Angels Beach: 551 NE Cougar Loop

Rebound Beach: 1104 NE Stoneridge Loop

Rebound Physical Therapy Beach: 1190 NE Hudspeth Lane

Regal Eagles Beach and York's Family and Friends Beach: 599 NE Third St.

VFW Auxiliary and Friends Beach: 652 SE Juniper St.

Website: https://secure.acsevents.org/site/STR?pg=entry&fr_id=96778

Facebook: Crook County Relay For Life

To join a team or donate, contact chairs Pam Jackson, 541-390-6366, or Kristi Jackson, 541-390-5198.


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