BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Despite the pandemic, Bakersfield’s Relay for Life is still finding ways to connect cancer survivors. Scottie Miller, a team captain for the relay, decorated her mini cooper and came to show her support.
“It’s a sad thing but it’s a wonderful thing to bring us together for something good,” Scottie said.
Her husband Bob was diagnosed with lung cancer 21 years ago. That was when they went together to their first relay. Bob passed away a year later, but he wasn’t the only family member Scottie lost to cancer.
“He died 21 years ago and that’s when I started relaying. And then I lost my mother to cancer. And I always say third time’s a charm because then I got cancer and I’m a survivor. And I just want to tell everyone that supports relay for life, what a wonderful thing they’re doing for the community.”
Scottie was one of many cancer survivors who joined the relay for life of bakersfield this morning.
The relay is a signature fundraiser held by the American Cancer Society every May.
Because of COVID, this year’s relay looked a little different.
Instead of running a lap around a track, survivors drove a lap threw the parking lot of the Westside Church of Christ.
“So the lap that we’re doing is celebrating it’s like their victory lap, it’s like I’m a survivor, WOOHOO,” said Donna Hermann, Senior Community Development Manager for Relay for Life. It’s like celebrate we wont give up the fight, you know. We’re survivors and so they are going through and everybody’s cheering them on, rooting them on. And this is their victory lap, they fought hard to be on this lap, and we’re going to continue to have a victory lap, every single year.”
There were booths placed along the lap. At each one, volunteers handed out goodies like t-shirts, water bottles, beanies, scarves, and even cowboy hats.
“You know we couldn’t be face to face, COVID doesn’t stop hope, it doesn’t stop us,” Donna said. “We just get creative and figure out how we’re going to do it. So we are celebrating our survivors, going through the drive thru, our continued sponsor valley strong donated these cowboy hats because we are giving cancer the boot.”
But the pandemic has had a big impact on the American Cancer Society. The nonprofit expects a revenue shortfall of 200 million dollars this year. If you’d like to donate, just go to their website at relayforlife.org.
Scottie’s been cancer-free for 17 years and says she’s grateful to everyone at the American Cancer Society for their support.