It is Back to the 80s for the 2020 Relay for Life of Defiance County. The annual event will be held Aug. 7 from 7:30-10:30 p.m. in the Defiance High School parking lot with a new drive-thru format.

Honorary survivor chairmen Dominga Robles and Norm Walker, and honorary caregiver chairman Susan Walker will be honored.

The traditional luminaria ceremony will be held at dusk. Luminarias are available now for a $10 donation each. The photo memorial wall will be displayed throughout the event. With a candlelight glow on the drive-thru track, it is a time to remember, honor and celebrate the lives of those touched by cancer.

Teams will have some goodies available such as Team Fairview’s strawberry shortcakes. Attendees will stay in their cars; relay volunteers will be coming to them. Sponsors also will be recognized with a display.

This date coincides with the Defiance Downtown Cruise-In and Buskerfest. Luminarias will be available for purchase at these downtown events. Cruise-in cars are also welcome to drive-thru at relay, and everyone is invited to drive out for the luminarias after Buskerfest. Relay event planners also welcome those with cars from the 1980s to bring them to the school for display. Some relay team members will be decorating their personal vehicles in 1980s style.

Other than fundraising, which is ongoing, relay activities are usually wrapped up by this time in Defiance County. However, local events were put on hold with the COVID-19 restrictions.

“Cancer never stops, and neither will we” became the motto of the event leadership team, and the idea for drive-thru events became reality. The traditional Paint the Town Purple event took place in June when the relay is usually held. Cooperating merchants allowed messages to be painted on their windows to keep relay on people’s minds and announce the new date.

Though the 80s theme was chosen prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the drive- thru concept fits perfectly. It was during the 1980s that drive-thru restaurants became popular. And during this current health crisis, the concept also aligns with all health department and governmental guidelines, along with those of the American Cancer Society to protect everyone.

The 80s also have special significance for the signature fundraiser of the American Cancer Society. Relay for Life was established in 1985 by Dr. Gordon Klatt.

A drive-thru dinner, sponsored by GlennPark, was held July 23 for survivors and caregivers. “Hanging tough in the 80s” is an appropriate timeline during this very unusual time in history, and also describes the strength of each survivor in each unique journey.

It is not too late to be a sponsor for the event, form a team, or donate to Relay for Life of Defiance County. Information is available from event leads Kim Carder at carderkimberly@yahoo.com; Eva Canales at mineola1975@gmail.com; or Karla Batt, ACS staff partner at karlabatt@cancer.org.

Donations also may be made online at www.relayforline.org/defiance. Those donations can be made specific to a team or individual by searching for the desired name on the website.

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