While the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of the annual Relay For Life event, Bermuda Relay is still working to raise funds for the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.
A spokesperson said, “The COVID-19 crisis may have changed the way the island will Relay For Life this year, but it has not stopped the mission of Bermuda Relay to raise funds to support access to cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and support, provided by Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre [the Centre].
“Money raised by the Relay community is needed now more than ever. People in our community are still hearing the words “you have cancer” and will have to make important health decisions which may be influenced by their current financial position.
“The financial outlook for the nonprofit cancer centre has been negatively impacted by Covid-19. It’s difficult to quantify due to the unpredictable nature of the outbreak and the impact on patient appointments, community fundraising and donations. Cancer patients remain among the most vulnerable and need the help of the local community more than ever.
“Following guidelines from local health authorities and international health organisations such as WHO, the NHS and CDC, our charity suspended services like screening mammograms and scaled back diagnostic imaging in the interest of patient safety” states Lynne Woolridge, Chief Executive Officer, Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre.
“We are grateful for our patients’ understanding and support. Our staff are preparing to offer extended operational hours to accommodate the many affected appointments while continuing to keep patients safely distanced and ensuring the Centre can maintain effective safety precautions.”
“Because of the impact COVID-19 is having on fundraising efforts, 2020 will be a challenging year for the cancer charity. Relay For Life is the Centre’s largest fundraiser, with annual donations exceeding $700,000.
“These funds are critical in the charity’s effort to provide residents with equal access to cancer care. In 2019, the Centre subsidised over $2 million in clinical services to provide equal access to healthcare to members of our community.
“Relay For Life is a life-changing event. Traditionally Relay brings together more than 5 thousand people every year in Bermuda, to celebrate the lives of those who have bravely battled cancer, remember loved ones lost, and empower individuals and the community to fight back against a disease that takes too much from too many.”
“Relay For Life is a unique movement, as teams raise funds throughout the year. This year, these fundraisers, the car washes, bake sales, auctions and exercise classes have not been able to take place as we have been restricted in coming together” says Deborah Titterton Narraway, Chief Marketing Officer.
“We are starting to hear from teams who are emerging with future ideas of online alternatives like quiz nights, virtual scavenger hunts and online auctions. We are honoured that their commitment to Relay is still strong, and we hope the community will support their efforts throughout the year.”
The spokesperson said, “Relay For Life of Bermuda, presented by Liberty Specialty Markets, is taking the event ceremonies to Facebook and the entire Bermuda community is encouraged to participate. The three signature ceremonies will be broadcast using a combination of live and pre-recorded video here.
“There are five easy ways the community can support Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre and participate in Relay For Life 2020.
“Register a team in this virtual world. A team can be made up of all your favourite people; your household, neighbours or friends and family from around the world. One person from each team [team captain] visits www.bermudarelay.com and registers a team name.
“During the registration process, the captain can invite the team members via email or by sending a URL link for people to use to sign up. For this year only, while supplies last, each participant will receive the commemorative event t-shirt. Every $10 registration fee will directly help pay for someone’s radiation therapy.
“Celebrate survivors. Every Relay For Life event around the world opens with the joyful march of the guests of honour, our cancer survivors. This year, survivors are invited to submit their picture or 15 second video of themselves walking [your driveway, garden, previous Relay event] to be included in a virtual lap video [name, cancer type and year of diagnosis are optional].
“All photos and videos are to be submitted no later than May 5 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Participate in the Luminaria Remembrance Ceremony. Purchase a virtual Luminaria [or two or three] here. On May 15 at 9.00pm, join Bermuda Relay on Facebook and light up your homes and yards with bags, lanterns, flashlights and show Bermuda that you remember survivors lost, survivors fighting cancer, caregivers and the cancer services who support them.
“Fundraise. COVID-19 has made it difficult to host the annual car washes, bake sales, auctions and parties, but the need to raise $700,000 grows every day. Please consider making a personal or family donation, host a virtual fundraiser or plan a fundraiser for later in the year.
“Relay For Life is a year-long movement, and because cancer never sleeps, our efforts are needed year-round. Visit here. Everyone who raises $100 for Relay For Life will receive a special thank you gift.
“Since word-of-mouth is the most powerful tool, tell friends and family about this virtual event. Re-post the social media posts shared through BermudaRelay on Facebook and Instagram.
“Relay For Life wouldn’t be Relay without a little music, exercise classes, games, fundraisers and opportunities to share with one another. Visit www.bermudarelay.com for the schedule of events, to register a team, or to make a donation.”