Following the COVID-19 outbreak and state-wide lockdown, the American Cancer Society decided to make all of its spring 2020 Relay for Life events virtual.
SVSU’s Relay chapter followed the decision with its own virtual event, scheduled for Friday, April 24.
Lizzy Simon, a literature freshman and Relay for Life co-chair, said the organization still hopes to raise money and awareness, despite going online.
“The event being virtual basically means that we will be posting videos on Facebook of our ceremonies, fundraising challenges, educational videos and videos of others who share what Relay means to them,” Simon said. “In this way, we hope to keep the spirit of Relay alive.”
Annabelle Midcalf, a biology and pre-PA sophomore and Relay co-chair, said hosting the event online would allow the community to still participate.
“We still want to keep the spirit of Relay alive, and there’s no better way to do that than by using a platform, Facebook, that many people are already using during their isolation in their homes,” Midcalf said. “Individuals will be able to share the fundraisers to their pages, which will allow their family and friends to donate.”
Midcalf explained that the American Cancer Society gave recommendations, but individual chapters had to create their own events. For its version of Relay, the RSO decided to reach out to other organizations in the area.
“We asked some local groups and clubs around the community, especially the SVSU student body, to send in videos of their members, whether that be a previously recorded routine, song or dance,” she said. “We also asked them to have their members send in individual videos expressing why they Relay, who they are fighting for or how cancer has affected them and their family.”
Scheduled speakers for the original event were also contacted and asked to submit videos, Midcalf said.
“We have also been working on the Luminaria PowerPoint to honor those who have passed from (cancer) and those who are currently fighting,” she said. “We plan to upload these to our Facebook.”
Simon said she hoped the situation would prove that Cardinals thrive in the face of challenges.
“This was not how we planned for Relay for Life to happen, but if everyone works together, we can still reach our fundraising goals and raise awareness about cancer,” Simon said. “I hope everyone gets a sense of Relay and the way it brings a community together.”
Midcalf also expressed hope that the event would raise the community’s spirits in such a stressful time.
“We believe that this event will allow people to release some stress,” she said, “and realize that together as a community, we can still do good in this world.”