Rain or Shine, Relays a Go

PARKERSBURG – Pouring rain Thursday didn’t stop setup for the Wood and Washington County Relay for Life events, and if precipitation returns today, it won’t stop the party either.

“Oh no, we’ll be here,” said Karen Perrine of Hockingport.

Her family has formed the team George’s Posse in honor of her late husband, George Perrine, who passed away in January after battling lung and brain cancer. She was at Parkersburg City Park Thursday with her daughter, Amanda Reed, and granddaughter, Micah Reed, to stake off their campsite as laborers from McGuffey Tents set up shelters for tonight’s event.

This is the third year coordinating the Wood County Relay for Susie Warman, community manager with the American Cancer Society in Parkersburg. She’s had good weather the last two years, but when she participated as a team member, conditions were sometimes less than ideal.

“Before I actually worked with the American Cancer Society, I was there with my team, shivering in the cold and the rain,” Warman said.

But with a forecast chance of rain of 50 percent for this evening, Warman was choosing to take the “glass half full” approach.

“Our hope is that it will be beautiful and sunny and not too hot, not too cold, but Relay will go on rain or shine,” she said.

The attitude was the same from Chad Gardner, Relay for Life specialist for the American Cancer Society and coordinator of the Washington County Relay that starts this evening in Belpre’s Civitan Park.

“We’re definitely a rain-or-shine event, and we will be Relaying in whatever weather there is,” he said before adding that in the event of lightning, there may be a break in laps for safety’s sake.

Gardner was pleased to see the Washington County Relay met its goal of 65 teams with the registration of three more groups on Thursday.

“That’s a good indicator that we are going to be near our goal for monetary donations,” he said.

This year’s fundraising goal is $183,000.

The goals for Wood County are 110 teams and $250,000. Warman noted people can help reach the latter goal even if they aren’t part of a team or bringing in a big donation.

“If you come out and buy a hot dog, you’re still helping to support the cause,” she said.

Warman said everyone in the community is invited to participate in the Relay activities, which include music, games and a luminaria service in honor of cancer survivors, those who have passed away battling the disease and those who are battling right now, as well in appreciation for caregivers.

Opening ceremonies for the Wood County Relay are set for 7 p.m. at the main stage near Bennett Stump Field. The closing ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Saturday.

Across the Ohio River, Washington County’s Relay also opens at 7 p.m. today. Closing ceremonies are slated for noon Saturday.