Relay For Life of Summit County starts new path this year

Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson event committees join forces

Phil Keren
Kent Weeklies
Relay For Life of Summit County will happen June 7 through June 12. The committees of the Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson Relay For Life events have joined together to stage this virtual and drive-through event.

The annual fundraising event for the American Cancer Society is following a new path in Summit County and will offer a virtual and drive-thru event next month.

The committees for the Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson Relay For Life events have joined forces to host one event in a collaboration that will continue for the foreseeable future.

"We merged committees, teams, everything into this one event to hopefully —  when we get back in-person [next year] — have this larger, better experience for everyone," said Ayla Zerbe, development manager for the American Cancer Society. "Moving forward, this will be our new Summit County event."

Relay For Life of Summit County, which raises funds for the American Cancer Society, will start June 7 and end June 12.

The Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson Relay For Life groups had their own virtual events last year, Zerbe said. Tallmadge Relay For Life did not have a program in 2020 and the Twinsburg Relay For Life ended in 2018.

At this point, Zerbe said Barberton is the only city in Summit County that is continuing to have its own Relay For Life program.

2021 event details

The 2021 Relay For Life of Summit County activities will kick off with a Trivia Night on June 7 at 7 p.m. Zerbe said members of the Relay teams and other registrants can try to answer questions on topics such as Star Wars, football. and current events.

The trivia event is intended to "do something fun to get people back together and excited," Zerbe said.

Those wishing to participate in Trivia Night can purchase a ticket for $10. That ticket will give them entry into 10 rounds of trivia and one door prize ticket. The VIP ticket carries a price of $15 and gives the purchaser 10 rounds of trivia, a door prize ticket and a luminaria in the luminaria program. At Relay For Life events, a luminaria is a bag with a candle in it that bears the name of a person who either survived cancer or lost their life to cancer.

First prize in the Trivia Night is a $100 Amazon gift card, second prize is a $50 Amazon gift card and third prize is a $25 Amazon gift card.

The Week of Relay Raffle will take place from June 7 at noon through June 12 at 11 p.m. Each Relay team is asked to donate one or two gift baskets and Zerbe said businesses are also contributing baskets. Raffle tickets can be purchased on the event website.

From June 7 to 12, the baskets will be displayed online and participants will be able to submit a virtual ticket or tickets for each item that they want to try to win.

The drawing for the gift baskets will happen June 13 and the prizes will be delivered to the winners, Zerbe said.

"It's just another fun way to get people involved and bring those pieces of Relay that we're used to seeing and we really miss," Zerbe said.

Culmination is June 12

On June 12 starting at 6 p.m., an opening ceremony, survivor/caregiver recognition, recognition of teams and sponsors, a luminaria ceremony and closing ceremony will be shown on Relay For Life Summit County's Facebook page.

"We're taking the pieces of Relay and trying to make them work in that virtual world," said Zerbe, who noted some details for the June 12 programs are still being finalized.

There will be both a virtual luminaria ceremony and a drive-through luminaria event.

The drive-through luminaria program happens June 12 at approximately 9 p.m. in Water Works Park, 2025 Munroe Falls Ave., in Cuyahoga Falls.

"We'll have a path set at Water Works where we'll have all our luminaria … on display," Zerbe said. "They'll just drive in, make the loop and drive back out. [It will be] a chance for people to still see and be a part of that special piece of our event."

A luminaria — both a physical one and a virtual one — can be purchased for $10 on the event website. 

"Wherever you're at, however you can participate, you're going to see your loved one's name," Zerbe said. 

One detail still being finalized is whether the drive-through luminaria ceremony will be carried live or shown as a recording after it occurs.

How to participate

The fundraising goal for the event this year is $60,000, and Zerbe noted the deadline to submit a donation will be about Aug. 1.

Cancer survivors are encouraged to go to www.relayforlife.org/summitoh or call 1-800-227-2345 to register with Relay For Life of Summit County. When they register they will automatically receive a luminaria bag.

So far, 12 teams have registered to participate and Zerbe said they are accepting more registrations. 

"In the virtual world, it kind of makes it a little easier [to form a team] because it's a quick introduction and we can kind of quickly update you," she said.

To join a team, to donate, to purchase luminarias, or for more information visit www.relayforlife.org/summitoh.

More sponsors are still being sought for the event, too. Interested sponsors can visit the website or contact Zerbe at ayla.zerbe@cancer.org.

In 2021, Zerbe said event organizers focused on having the Cuyahoga Falls and Stow-Munroe Falls-Hudson Relay events merge and will look to get more people involved next year.

Organizers hope to have Relay For Life occur as an-person event in 2022. As of now, Zerbe said it is not known where the event will take place.

"We have a lot of opportunity at this point to find that perfect spot for us," Zerbe said.

Reporter Phil Keren can be reached at pkeren@thebeaconjournal.com, or on Twitter at @keren_phil.