MUSCATINE, Iowa–Relay for Life of Muscatine’s signature summer event has taken many forms. Over the years, it transformed from an event held in Muscatine High School’s gym to an outdoor event at the riverfront designed to draw the community in. This year’s relay has evolved again, this time in response to COVID-19. Though Relay for Life of Muscatine does not plan to hold in person events until at least September, they look forward to their virtual relay July 6 through 10.
Throughout the week, Scott Natvig, one of Relay for Life’s organizers, shared that people can participate in themed activities on the group’s Facebook page at their convenience. These will include themed dress up days, videos from survivors, caregivers and doctors, and more. On July 10, participants can do a social distanced relay where they walk, run, or bike on their own, share it to the Facebook page, and raise money for the distance they go. In the evening, people can share photos of the luminarias they put out to honor loved ones who have had cancer. Natvig encourages people to drive or walk around town to see the luminarias in person too.
Because COVID-19 has drastically changed this year’s Relay for Life and financially impacted many throughout the community, organizers did not set a fundraising goal for this year’s event. However, they remain hopeful that they will receive many donations to benefit local cancer patients. “The need for participating is every bit as important this year as any other–despite corona, cancer hasn’t stopped and a ‘virtual’ Relay can certainly help the cause,” said Natvig. “Donations are totally optional, but every amount helps fight cancer and is used right here in eastern Iowa.”
“Every penny counts, so no donation is too little. It’s awesome to plan a part in that,” added Katie Watson, this year’s Hero of Hope and a breast cancer survivor.
Both Watson, an advocate for diagnostic testing, and Natvig also hope the event brings more awareness to cancer, early detection, and the research in progress to help improve both prevention and treatment. “Hearing real-life cancer stories can be beneficial to all those touched by cancer (patients, caregivers, survivors, etc),” emphasized Natvig. “Participants can also learn about the importance and effectiveness of cancer screening tests,” he added.
Whether you plan to get active to fund raise for Relay for Life or plan to make a donation from the comfort of your couch, Relay for Life of Muscatine hopes to receive great community support this year. Through their novel online approach, they hope to continue moving their mission forward.