BUCKHANNON – Saturday morning was frigid – with temperatures barely reaching 10 degrees. The roads and sidewalks were icy and slick and it was a perfect day to stay inside and curl up by the fire.
But members of the Upshur County Relay for Life ignored the cold temperatures, snow and ice as they gathered at Jawbone Park to take the First Lap of 2022 because they ‘are not stopping in the fight against cancer.’
Robin Oldaker, coordinator of the Upshur County Relay for Life, said the First Lap is a nationwide event that kicks of the 2022 Relay for Life.
“All over the world today, everyone is taking one lap,” Oldaker said. “This will kick us off in honor of cancer survivors and in memory of those who have gone on.”
Oldaker said this is the beginning of the 25th year for the Upshur County Relay for Life.
“We are hoping this year to make it bigger and better,” she said. “We want a lot of teams to come out and especially want new teams to form. We are excited and ready to go with this.”
This year’s Upshur County Relay for Life is scheduled for July 16, 2022 at Jawbone Park. In past years, the event has included activities, speakers, games and musical entertainment.
COVID has had an effect on the Upshur County Relay for Life over the past two years.
“The first year of COVID we had a drive-thru, and last year we had a little bigger event,” Oldaker said. “We average between seven to 10 teams depending on the year. Even last year – which was a COVID year – we managed to raise $29,000 just for Upshur County.”
Oldaker said she and the other management team members of the Upshur County Relay for Life are hoping to get over and above that amount this year. She said local groups, businesses and organizations who want to form a team for the Upshur County Relay for Life should contact her at email@example.com.
“Folks wanting to learn more about the Upshur County Relay for Life and our upcoming events should join the Upshur County Relay for Life Facebook Page,” she said. “We have papers telling people how to form Upshur County Relay for Life teams and we will be having our kickoff dinner in February 2022.”
Oldaker said members will be reaching out and contacting businesses looking for sponsors. Another way for people to sign up is to go to relayforlife.org/Upshurwv. People can sign up and they do not have to be a part of a team.
“We would love for any local cancer survivors to go to that website and sign up online,” Oldaker said. “Survivors do not need to be a part of a team to sign up, and any survivors who sign up will receive a free survivor T-shirt which will be mailed directly to them.”
Oldaker said the Relay for Life event in Upshur County will include a Survivor Lap as well as a Caregiver Lap. At dusk, the event will feature a luminary service.
“The luminary service at dusk is absolutely beautiful,” Oldaker said. “The main goal is to raise funds for cancer research, but it is so much more. The money raised helps patients purchase wigs, hotel stays and transportation to their appointments.”
Oldaker said they partnered with Upshur County Schools and did a Coins for Cancer event.
“Money from that event will go to childhood cancer research,” she said.
So far into the 2022 Relay for Life season, Oldaker said the group has raised more than $4,000.
“We are on the go. We are fighting and we are working so hard for this,” Oldaker said.