The Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, a team fundraiser for the American Cancer Society that hopes to return to a full event in June, will hold its first meeting for team captains virtually at 6 p.m. Monday, Jan. 24.
The relay returned with two in-person events last June after being forced to hold a virtual relay in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. Organizers were hoping to hold its first meeting in a public community venue, but has opted instead to hold it virtually due to the current surge of the Omicron variant of COVID-19.
To date, the relay has raised nearly $4,000 and has 13 teams and 31 participants committed to the 2022 event, scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, June 10, through 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, June 11, at Norton Middle School located off of Route 123. The event is being shifted from Norton High School this year due to the construction of a new turf field at the high school.
Team captains who have registered for this year’s 24th annual event will receive an email with a link to join the Jan. 24 virtual meeting, which will include members of the relay for life’s volunteer organizing committee, who have been meeting virtually since last fall to plan the event.
Others interested in becoming a part of the relay are invited to participate in the meeting either by registering for the relay at www.relayforlife.org/greaterattleboroma or by sending an email to Brittney Toth, the regional senior development manager of the American Cancer Society at firstname.lastname@example.org; she will then email the meeting link to you.
In preparation for the 2022 event, committee members have attended several community events, including fall fairs and the Norton Halloween Parade, to get the word out about the upcoming relay. The committee also is making plans to bring back the well-received Slam Cancer poetry and essay event in conjunction with the Attleboro Public Library; details will be announced at a later date.
The relay, like many nonprofits, has seen its fundraising curtailed by the pandemic, but still managed to raise more than $60,000 each of the last two years. The goal for 2022 is to raise $80,000. The money raised helps to pay for a variety of programs and services to aid cancer patients, as well as research to help develop new cancer-curing drugs.
Both Toth and Barbara Benoit, the longtime chairperson of the volunteer organizing committee, stress the importance of raising both money for the cancer society and awareness of its programs, especially since some procedures and screenings continue to be delayed. When that happened in the first few months of the pandemic in 2020, thousands were diagnosed with advanced forms of cancer that would have been discovered in a less serious stage had the patients gone for earlier screenings.
The Greater Attleboro relay draws participants from most area communities, including Attleboro, North Attleborough, Mansfield, Norton, Plainville and Rehoboth. To register for the event as a participant, team captain, volunteer, or to donate to the Relay For Life of Greater Attleboro, go to www.relayforlife.org/greaterattleboroma.
The event, which began in 1999 at North Attleboro High School, was held there until moving to Norton High School in 2018. Larry Kessler can be reached at email@example.com.