EDITORIAL: Relay for Life returns to some kind of normal

It can be hard to keep track of all the events and celebrations that were canceled or severely affected during the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic. We just welcomed a very successful return of Meriden’s signature event, the Daffodil Festival, and look forward to more events that have a meaningful impact.

High on that list is Relay for Life, the American Cancer Society’s largest community fundraiser. Pandemic restrictions limited Relay for Life to car parades and keeping interaction at a minimum. This year is a step toward returning to what people had grown to expect, but there are limits. 

“This is the third year we do a car parade,” Michael Rohde, a Meriden city councilor and former liaison for organizers and the city, told the Record-Journal. “There is still a lot of interest in all these events. Hopefully next year we can go back to a full-blown relay with all the bells and whistles we’re used to.”

“Full-blown” had included campouts and two-day events. As the Record-Journal recently reported, Southington will not host a relay event this year, with participants encouraged to join the Bristol-Plainville relay. Cheshire also does not hold its own relay, and participants can join Meriden-Wallingford, Waterbury or other towns.

The Meriden-Wallingford relay will be a hybrid event on May 20. There will be a car parade, with about 96 cars signed on to participate, starting in Wallingford and ending at Platt High School in Meriden. The high school track will host teams, survivors and a luminary ceremony.

What’s important is that the event continues. As Lynn Kipphut, American Cancer Society community development manager, noted, the pandemic presented challenges to cancer patients. “Most found themselves isolated,” she said. “Our call center provided hundreds of thousands of calls, 24 hours, seven days a week to get them virtual support and services.”

Kipphut encouraged people to “come take a few laps with us.” There is still time to participate, and those interested can go online to https://www.cancer.org/involved/fundraise/relay-for-life.html, or contact Kipphut at lynn.kipphut@cancer.org.

Many events now need a boost as they return from pandemic restrictions. Relay for Life is certainly one of the important ones.


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