American Cancer Society puts temporary hold on local Relay For Life event 

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Cancer survivors take their lap around the Cullman County Fairgrounds at Relay For Life 2019. (W.C. Mann for The Cullman Tribune)

CULLMAN, Ala. – Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Cancer Society has extended its postponement of Relay For Life events through mid-May. This temporary postponement impacts the annual Relay For Life of Cullman County event planned for May 1 at the Cullman County Fairgrounds as well as team fundraising events and the annual Survivors’ Breakfast that was planned for April 29.

“We want to do what’s best for our community and especially our survivors who are currently going through treatments and would be at an increased risk of contracting the virus,” said Helen Allen, event chair. “Our teams will continue to raise funds using online resources and we encourage supporters to visit our web page (www.relayforlife.org/cullmanal) to support those efforts. Donors may contribute to the event or show their support for a specific team.”

As of now, 25 teams are registered and more than $34,000 has been raised toward the event’s $150,000 goal. Money raised through Relay For Life events helps the American Cancer Society fund research, educate the public on preventative measures and offer support and services to patients and caregivers.

For example, in 2019, Relay For Life provided 728 nights lodging for Cullman County residents at Hope Lodges, according to Allen. Hope Lodges offer free housing to cancer patients going through treatments more than 50 miles from their home. The closest facility is the Joe Lee Griffin Hope Lodge in Birmingham, but there are dozens of Hope Lodges located across the United States that cancer patients can be referred to by their doctors should they need treatment in those areas.

This year, Relay For Life of Cullman County is also offering supporters the opportunity to sponsor Cozy Care Packages that will be provided to area treatment centers and filled with items those centers know their patients can use or need as they go through treatments. The name of sponsoring supporters will be included with the packages.

Other fundraising efforts include luminaria to be displayed at the event and torches of hope that will also be displayed at the event but will be available for purchases to take home after.

“The Relay For Life of Cullman County event will be rescheduled,” Allen said. “Until then, we hope our longtime supporters will continue with their support and we encourage others who want to help in the fight against cancer to donate as well.”

Current sponsors for the 2020 event include Affordable Automotive, Catoma Dermatology, Clearview Cancer Institute, Coca Cola, Cullman Internal Medicine, Cullman Regional, Live Haul Products, Reliance Worldwide, River Valley Ingredients, TriGreen Equipment, Urgent Care Center, Walmart Distribution 6006, and Webb Wheel.

Anyone wishing to support Relay For Life through sponsorships, create a team or for any other information can contact Helen Allen at 256-709-4019 or helen@welti.com. Sponsors and supporters can also donate at www.relayforlife.org/cullmanal.