Special to the Opelika Observer

Relay For Life of Lee County volunteers will not let anything—even a worldwide pandemic—prevent them from raising money to support those fighting cancer. Two community events are planned.

“Because of Coronavirus, Relay may look a little different, but it will happen,” said Relay co-chairman Randy Causey, a longtime East Alabama Medical Center employee who has volunteered and been involved with the event for more than 20 years.

“Coronavirus has affected every part of our lives, but it hasn’t stopped cancer and those who battle it,” Causey added. “New cancer patients are diagnosed every day and those who are already diagnosed are battling it amid Coronavirus.”

The two community events planned will raise money for research and important community programs:

Night of Remembrance on May 20: A Luminaria bag can be purchased for a $5 donation from teams or contact Kalyn Fredrick, community development manager for the American Cancer Society by email at 

kalyn.frederick@cancer.org. Luminaria bags should place a candle or battery-operated device inside, and put it in your yard from 6 to 8 p.m. Take photos of your support and email to kalyn.frederick@cancer.org or text a photo to 334-538-9508.

 The luminaria bags can be personalized with photos or a message and are important because for just a $5 donation, you can support someone fighting cancer or memorialize a loved one, said co-chair Debra Causey, a two-time cancer survivor. 

“We hope the community will take photos and send them in as we will make a video that will be shown on Relay’s Facebook page.”

Virtual Relay on June 5 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., Relay volunteers will have events on a live Facebook feed, at www.facebook.com/leecountyrelay/, including a silent auction, a trivia contest and a survivor slide show. Email a photo, name of survivor with type of cancer and years since diagnosis to kalyn.frederick@cancer.org. Check out the Facebook page for more information.

 Teams continue to raise money for Relay For Life of Lee County. To date, more than 40 teams have raised $61,000. Every day, more people are diagnosed with cancer, and they are more vulnerable than ever, Fredrick said. 

“The needs of cancer patients continue, and so will the work of the American Cancer Society. We stand together even when we are apart.

“While this is a difficult time, we are looking forward to continuing the conversation with our volunteers virtually on new and creative ways to support families facing cancer.”

Changes to Lee County’s Relay mirror what is happening nationwide with similar events.

 “The safety of our patients, volunteers and staff always come first,” Fredrick said. “The American Cancer Society is serious about its response to COVID-19 and will make prudent decisions as the situation evolves.”
The American Cancer Society and ACS CAN are working to support current public health guidance and will continue to work to meet the needs of cancer patients around the country. Staff and volunteers remain available to provide information, support and guidance to patients and families 24 hours a day, seven days a week via the free helpline, 1-800-227-2345 and website, cancer.org. Much of ACS’ research continues with little disruption.

Find out more online at www.relayforlife.org/leeal or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/leecountyrelay/ or contact event co-chairs Randy at 334-703-6621, Debra at 334-703-5188 or Frederick at 334-538-9508.