BELPRE - Those committed to fight cancer will not let the weather stop them today during the Relay for Life events in both Wood and Washington counties.
The Washington County event will be held at Civitan Park, while the Wood County Relay for Life at City Park.
"We are a little worried about the weather, but the Relay will go on no matter what," said Chad Gardner, income development representative for the American Cancer Society. "We will have ponchos, umbrellas and anything else you can imagine to stay dry."
Photo by Jeff Baughan
Andy Nestor, owner of Party Supplies and Creations, inflates balloons for the Wood County Relay for Life's start/finish line Thursday evening. The relay begins today at Parkersburg City Park and continues through Saturday afternoon.
Cancer survivors Taylor Morrison, 17, of Marietta and Jillian Hanes, 2, of Waterford with her parents Beth and Jason Hanes lead the survivors’ lap during the 18th annual Relay for Life of Washington County in Belpre Civitan Park last year.
Both events are expected to begin around 4 p.m. when survivors will be welcomed. The Survivor's Dinners will be held at 5 p.m.
The opening ceremonies will begin at 7 p.m. and will be closely followed by the first "Victory Lap" walked by cancer survivors.
Between the dinner and opening ceremonies there will be other activities.
The events will go overnight from Friday evening until noon Saturday with participants and team members joining in opening ceremonies, the survivor's lap and entertainment.
At Civitan Park there will be activities going on throughout the entire 18 hours, beginning with a scavenger hunt after the luminaria service, said Gardner.
As of Thursday afternoon, the more than 60 teams had already raised an estimated $105,000 of the $179,000 goal.
"We are very excited to have raised so much before the Relay," Gardner said. "Hopefully we will have some good weather and will be able to not only beat our goal, but surpass it."
The event is a way for former and current cancer patients to join with those who have lost a loved one or been affected by cancer in some way to work together.
Games and inflatable toys will be in the park along with food and entertainment.
One of the most moving parts of the event is expected to be the luminaria service at 9:30 p.m. where those who lost their battles with cancer, those still struggling and those who have won will be honored with their names on luminaria bags along the walkway.
"For the second year we will be using new, reusable plastic purple and white luminaria," Gardner said. "They are really fantastic."
These luminaria are sponsored by Cawley and Peoples, Leavitt's of Belpre and McClureSchaferLankford funeral homes.
The funds raised enable the American Cancer Society to continue the fight against cancer through research, education, advocacy and patient services.
For more information call visit www.relayforlife.org.