Relay for Life 2021 kicks off Sept. 22

by Cristin Parker

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) may have shut things down all summer long, but that didn’t mean Cherokee County’s Relay for Life event slacked off on the fight against cancer.

While the 2020 event was canceled, fundraising continued across the county all year long, according to Relay committee members. And plans for next year’s event are already in the works.

“The season may not have gone like we planned but what better way to be able to ‘close’ one chapter and be able to ‘begin’ again,” Relay Community Committee Co-Chair Regina Brown, of Jacksonville, said. “I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, whether through volunteering, donations, sponsorship or in any manner to RFL Cherokee County.

“We all know that that the 2019-2020 relay season did not go as planned, but we still had committed volunteers that raised funds for the American Cancer Society and volunteered their time to the cause. You are appreciated! Thank you for allowing me to serve as our community committee co-chairperson, alongside Cassie Foster! I look forward to working with each of you in the 2020-21 relay year.

“Please send us your ideas and thoughts as we begin to plan the new fundraising year! Stay tuned for the kick-off committee meeting date.”

Relay For Life is the signature fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. Cherokee County is covered by the Lufkin office.

“The Relay For Life of Cherokee County is a community event that makes a difference in the fight against cancer -- we support our families, neighbors, friends, co-workers, loved ones and complete strangers by raising funds and awareness,” American Cancer Society Community Development Manager Kim Herman said. “We strive to make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer and their caregivers.

“Due to COVID-19, many of our Relay For Life events nationwide were either postponed or canceled. The actual Relay For Life of Cherokee County did not take place in 2020 but survivors and caregivers were invited to be part of the first-ever drive-thru Survivor Dinner, hosted by the RFL of Angelina County in Lufkin on July 31. Angelina, Cherokee and Nacogdoches events were merged to honor and recognize our survivors and caregivers.

“One thing we have realized throughout this pandemic is that cancer hasn’t stopped so neither have we.”

Cherokee County’s 2020 event had 15 teams with Stage Distribution Center and Taco Bell each being one of the top teams. Three teams were formed after participating in Pink Out events last October -- Rusk FFA, Jacksonville Lady Maidens and Top Guys Wear Pink.

“We would like to recognize Leo Hicks Creosoting Inc. in Alto as the Caregiver sponsor and Texas Oncology as an event sponsor for 2020,” Herman said.

This year’s Relay event is already getting geared up, too, as it kicks off Tuesday, Sept. 22, with the Queen of Social Distancing Card Draw, a Zoom event. Donations of $25 get a participant access to the Zoom meeting, where 52 prizes, including designer handbags, jewelry, gift cards and gift baskets, will be drawn for.

The new local Relay site is also already open for teams to register and start fundraising for the 2021 season.

The Taco Trot presented by Southern MultiFoods (SMI) is set for Oct. 17, in downtown Jacksonville. Originally scheduled for April 25, same day as Relay, it was rescheduled.

The Relay will be held at 10 a.m., Saturday, April 24, 2021, in downtown Jacksonville. Volunteers for the Event Leadership Team (ELT) aka Planning Committee including Teams Coordinator and Event Co-Chair to assist Event Lead Regina Brown are needed.

Other areas available include special fundraisers, team recognition and survivor/caregiver celebration.

“We understand that every person has his or her own talents so I try to create positions that are flexible and tailored to the person’s interest,” Herman said. “Although Relay For Life is the signature fundraising for the American Cancer Society, we try to host bingos and other events throughout the year. We even tried our first Facebook online auction a few weeks ago. If organizing special activities like this is something you like to do, please contact me. I can be contacted at (936) 634-2966 or (936) 212-1543 or email me at”

All American Cancer Society offices including the Lufkin location, which covers Cherokee County, continues to be closed due to COVID. Staff working from home. Should someone need additional information on services and programs ACS offers, they can contact the Patient Services Line at 1-800-237-2345 or