In the wake of the decision by the American Cancer Society to suspend all in-person Relay For Life events in June — including two Attleboro area ones — because of the coronavirus pandemic, planning is under way for the “Hope From Home” virtual event on Sunday, June 7.
The cancer society’s decision last month affected both the 22nd annual Greater Attleboro Relay For Life and the Relay For Life of Mansfield-Foxboro-Sharon. The Greater Attleboro fundraiser had been scheduled June 12-13 at Norton High School, and the Relay For Life of Mansfield-Foxboro-Sharon had been scheduled June 20-21 at the Ahern Middle School in Foxboro.
It’s hoped that the “Home From Home” event will help the cancer society continue raising funds to meet the ongoing needs of cancer patients. The date of June 7 was picked to coincide with the observance of National Cancer Survivors’ Day, organizers said.
Hope From Home, which will be conducted in coordination with relays for life that would have been held in Maine and New Hampshire, will incorporate many of the themes that the June relays would have had, including luminaria for cancer survivors or cancer victims and opening and closing ceremonies.
Participants who are already registered as individuals or team members don’t have to sign up; they only have to go to Facebook on the day of the event. Those who aren’t yet registered for either Attleboro area relay, but who would like to participate in Hope For Home are invited to sign up in advance by using this link: www.facebook.com/events/271848380642901.
Hope From Home will kick off at 1 p.m. with an opening ceremony and will continue through 6 p.m., when both the closing and luminaria ceremonies will be held. Luminaria are candles normally illuminated around the track at relay sites both in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of those who lost their lives to the disease. In their place will be virtual luminaria. If you’d like to honor someone with a luminaria, you can go to the Facebook link. Those who wish to include a photo with their submission should do so by May 18.
The event will include a tribute to cancer survivors at 3 p.m., as well as videos and messages from both the local and regional organizers. The event also will include the following: a scavenger hunt, a team T-shirt competition, a team roll call, donor and sponsorship appreciation, trivia, Zumba, yoga and information about cancer society services available to patients and caregivers.
Although the bulk of the content will only be on Facebook, there also will be other aspects of the event shared on other social media platforms, while videos shown during the event will be made available for viewing on YouTube.
In addition, on June 12, when the Greater Attleboro Relay would have been held in Norton, the relay’s website and social media outlets will feature a slide show of the artwork featured in the February “Luminaira” exhibit at the Attleboro Arts Museum as well as video tributes by some of the performers who would have been a part of the in-person event.
Brittney Toth, the cancer society’s regional community development manager, stresses the American Cancer Society remains available to provide information, support, and guidance to patients and families 24 hours a day, seven days a week via its helpline, 1-800-227-2345, and at cancer.org.
The Greater Attleboro relay includes most Attleboro area communities, including Attleboro, North Attleboro, Norton, Plainville and Rehoboth. To find out about more about the virtual events being planned for the Greater Attleboro Relay, go to www.relayforlife.org/greaterattleboroma.
For more information about the Mansfield-Foxboro-Sharon event, email Toth at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to secure.acsevents.org/site/STR?pg=entry&fr_id=95390.