Copperas Cove/Lampasas Relay For Life holding virtual event Saturday, pageant rescheduled, art festival canceled

By BRITTANY FHOLER 

Cove Leader-Press 

 

This Saturday, the community is invited to participate in a virtual Relay for Life to be held on Facebook. 

After the federal recommendations for social distancing and the limiting of gatherings were extended to the end of April, the Copperas Cove/ Lampasas Relay for Life scrambled to find a way to continue their annual event. 

The American Cancer Society, which benefits from the Relay for Life, and the Event Leadership Team for Copperas Cove and Lampasas agreed to postpone the event and try a virtual Relay on Saturday. 

“It’s definitely challenging, obviously,” said Ronda Dellere, who is on the Event Leadership Team. 

Dellere said that when the group figured out that they wouldn’t be able to hold their all-day fundraising event, they had a moment of trying to figure out the next step. 

“What we have decided to do is holding this virtual relay on our day just so people know that we’re still here, and we’re still fighting, and we’re still raising money because even though we can’t talk to each other really, next door or whatever, we still need to raise money because cancer hasn’t stopped,” Dellere said. “Nobody’s stopped treatments. Nobody’s stopped being diagnosed, any of that stuff, despite what’s going on in the world today. So, it’s important now to raise the money as it’s ever been.”

Dellere said she was slightly worried about the attitude of people still donating if there wasn’t an actual event, but that concern has not been necessary. 

“So far, we haven’t had a single person who had committed to donate withdraw or backout or anything like that, so that’s an excellent thing,” Dellere said. 

Dellere said the group does plan to hold their Relay at a later date, possibly in June or July, if they can secure a location. 

“Our teams all seem to be just as excited as they were before this all started,” Dellere said. “What this virtual relay is it’s in part, it’s to make sure that people know we’re still here and we’re still honoring our survivors and caregivers and we’re still fighting.”

Tammy Merwin, the community development manager with the American Cancer Society, said that the American Cancer Society has postponed or cancelled all Relay events scheduled for the month of April through mid-May to comply with the Governor’s executive orders and the President’s recommendations. 

The virtual relay will take place on the same day, Saturday April 4, beginning at 7:30 p.m. on Facebook, through the Relay for Life of Copperas Cove/Lampasas Facebook page. 

“We’re asking everyone that’s been a part, present and past, of Relay, to jump online and like our page, to invite their friends,” Merwin said. 

People can log on to view the event, which is expected to last up to an hour and a half, from their phone, laptop or tablet. 

“We’re not taking our focus away from our fundraising efforts, because that’s part of our mission and what keeps us going to care for our patients and fund research and those kind of things, but we really want to use this virtual relay as a way to spread the message of hope and to continue on the theme of ‘Hope is not Cancelled,’” Merwin said. “Although everything around us maybe super uncertain, and we’re not sure what tomorrow even brings, one thing is for sure that we aren’t losing hope and our battle against cancer doesn’t stop just because everything else may seem to be.”

Some participants have pre-recorded videos about why they relay and why the American Cancer Society is important to them that will be published during the virtual relay. Dellere said she has also prerecorded some videos to publish during the live stream. 

“We’re excited to see what happens, and honestly, I think this is something that we could incorporate into our regular routine from here on out,” Dellere said. 

The 7th annual Copperas Cove Five Hills Scholarship Pageant was postponed as well. Originally set for March 21, the pageant has been postponed to May 30. 

Volunteer Pageant Director Wendy Sledd said that the pageant remains scheduled for that May date. 

“Should the governor extend the precautions currently in place for the pandemic, we will still have 30 days to adjust and plan processes that need to be put in place,” Sledd said.

Sledd that there have not been any changes to the number of contestants participating in the pageant. 

“All contestants and their families are eagerly looking forward to taking the stage on May 30, and all of our judges and auditors that come from more than an hour away also committed to serve the pageant on May 30,” Sledd said. “Our more than 100 sponsors of the pageant have all been extremely supportive and understanding in these changing times. All of our volunteers that ensure this huge event runs smoothly have also committed to sharing their time on May 30.”

The Five Hills Art Guild Art Festival was also scheduled for this month - to be held April 25 and 26 - but has been cancelled. 

“The festival will continue to be promoted for next year, same place and same weekend,” reads a post made on the group’s Facebook page. “Our goal is to add other venues to offset this loss of time and art to be available soon.”

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