The 19th annual Relay for Life took a different spin on Saturday, as the event which usually is a communal march took to the streets this year as a motorcade in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Departing promptly at 2 p.m. from the D.C. Canegata Ballpark in Christiansted, 50 participating cars honked their way through the streets of St. Croix all the way to the Sunshine Mall’s parking lot in Frederiksted.
“It was important for the event to happen because the committee observed an increase in requests for financial assistance,” event Chairwoman Rosalie Javois said. “Also, St. Thomas did not have a signature event, not being able to depend on ACS National to give as much support because of a drop in donations. Lastly, because of the pandemic, we had to cut back services … like housing, ground transportation, etc.”
To participate in the event, teams had to register and adhere to the instructions received. The number of cars permitted in the motorcade was limited, and other supporters were encouraged to honk along the road to support the event. Participants also had the option to meet at the Sunshine Mall parking lot by 4:30 p.m., where the closing ceremony took place. All participants were required to remain in their vehicles throughout the entire event and the V.I. Police Department was on hand to enforce that rule.
The parade of vehicles visited various neighborhoods and roadways, honking their horns in support. As participants arrived at the Sunshine Mall parking lot a luminary event was scheduled to take place at 5 p.m., but because many participants left prior to the ceremony the event ended earlier. The small candlelit ceremony is to send love and support for current patients and survivors battling cancer.
Due to the limitations forced by the pandemic, a formal “Survivor’s Ceremony” was postponed to a later date.
“We all would have preferred a thousand plus persons on the St. Croix Educational Complex grounds, but Virgin Islanders are resilient and understanding and since COVID-19 brought us limes, we certainly will drink limeade,” Javois said.
The goal of the relay this year is to raise $100,000.
“While the planned events are only on St. Croix, this year we are all one people, and all Virgin Islanders need assistance. We are challenging our territorial community to double that goal.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the U.S. Virgin Islands Relay for Life can do so at the organization’s website.