A week-long spell of rainy weather coupled with the near certainty of more rain to come has forced East Wake Relay for Life leaders to postpone their annual Relay event, which was set for Friday, May 20, at Five County Stadium.
The new Relay date is June 24. Event co-chair Vickie Curtis threw in the towel about 9:30 Thursday morning and an announcement was made in the evening after confirmation on a feasible fallback date from the Carolina Mudcats organization, which allows the Relay use the field adjacent to the stadium.
“It’s probably one of the most difficult decisions I’ve made,” Curtis said. “We appreciate the community understanding our position and certainly hope and trust that the community will come out in full force to our event.”
Rain has hindered attendance before, but never forced a postponement in the history of the local fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society’s research and family support programs. Last year, and in years past, Relayers rode out a brief drizzle at the onset of the luminaria ceremony.
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The National Weather Service Raleigh forecast office, however, called for steady showers throughout Thursday – when organizers do most of the prep work setting up the makeshift site for the event. The office also called for a 100 percent chance of precipitation with possible thunderstorms for the entire duration the Relay, which would have spanned from Friday afternoon to Saturday morning.
“The fact we want everyone, all participants and parties involved, to be safe it’s just best to postpone,” Curtis said. “It’s about rain in the forecast both Thursday and Friday and the saturated ground.
“Have we Relayed in the rain? Absolutely. Will we in the future? Without a doubt. But there are just unfortunate conditions this year that are before the event and at the event. You just have to work with what you’ve got.”
Curtis said there are always positives and negatives when facing a postponement.
One one hand, partners, participants and volunteers were already prepared and locked into the May 20 date. That raises the question of whether or not they can adjust their schedules again for a new date on shorter notice.
On the other hand, the postponement gives the Relay a slight extension on its fundraising efforts.
“Will we lose some people? Who knows,” Curtis said. “Will we gain some people? We may. It never hurts to have more time to fight for the cause in terms of raising money and attaining new volunteers and Relayers, but it’s not really the way we want that to happen. We prefer to have a date and do it and not have a postponement.”
Opportunity to honor
Luminaria can obtained prior to or at Relay for $10 each. Torches are also available for the Hope Garden at Relay for $100. Both the luminaria and torches come in colors designating whether the honor is for a survivor, caregiver or a lost loved one. Those items can be purchased online at nando.com/3ig or by calling Curtis at 919-210-6888.