Relay For Life of Fairless Hills Goes Virtual For Pandemic

Relay For Life volunteers gather in Wendy Coons' backyard.

Each year, Relay For Life of Fairless Hills hosts its fundraiser for the American Cancer Society in pursuit of a cure. Last year volunteers weathered an intense storm, but this year they faced an even greater challenge.

In light of the ongoing pandemic, Relay For Life faces a serious uphill battle to reach its goals.

“Usually we start off Relay with quite a bit more than what we started off with this year,” said Event Lead Christina Kritzer. “People weren’t able to do in-restaurant fundraisers. And with social distancing, fundraisers weren’t as abundant as they have been previously.”

In 2019, Relay raised $116,000. This year, they have collected $38,500 as of Monday morning. Fortunately, anyone looking to donate can do so online here.

“The goal really is to raise money for the American Cancer Society,” said Kritzer. “Every dollar helps.”

Social distancing also meant the traditionally style for Relay was off the table. In 2019, more than 700 volunteers gathered at Pennsbury High School’s track. However, state orders mean these gatherings are limited to 250 people at most.

Instead, Relay got creative and went virtual. It started at noon Saturday and continued through 8:30 p.m.

“I did a kick-off lap virtually live and then it went into our survivor lap like normal,” said Kritzer. People joined in virtually as well. “Instead of being on the track, they posted start selfies with their survivors or photos of their survivor on our Facebook page.”

Different teams “did their own thing,” according to Kritzer.

Photo via Wendy Coons.

In one case, a group of committee members gathered at Falls Township Community Park. They ran laps, including a kick-off survivor lap. Other groups ran through their neighborhoods.

Wendy Coons, a cancer survivor and Traffic Coordinator at WBCB 1490, set up a track and Luminaria in her own backyard.

“It was absolutely amazing,” said Kritzer. “When I saw her photos I was blown away.”

Event organizers had planned for a “Wish Upon a Cure” theme this year. While they used it in small ways, they are planning to do more next year once the pandemic has passed.

A virtual Luminaria slideshow is available here.