Hurricane Matthew claimed its first casualty in Surry County, as the storm forced Relay for Life organizers to postpone this weekend’s event.
The annual Relay for Life gathering was scheduled to begin on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Veterans Memorial Park in Mount Airy. The event, the cap on a year’s worth of fundraising efforts for cancer research, was to last eight hours.
However, the probability of inclement weather has spurred event organizers to postpone the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. The event will now be held on Nov. 5 at 4 p.m. at Veterans Park, according to event organizer Dara Parsons.
It’s the second consecutive year the event has been postponed. In 2015, inclement weather which resulted from Hurricane Joaquin forced a similar decision.
Having to reschedule the event may have led to some headaches for event organizers, but the 2015 rescheduled event was still well attended, according to Parsons. Crowds turned out for the gathering and walked around a makeshift track at the park until well into the night.
Parsons said the group has already begun the process of getting everything set in motion to host Relay for Life in November.
“We are planning on it,” said Parsons of live entertainment for the relay. “We are working on it.”
There is uncertainty as to what effects the category 3 hurricane will bring. Recent projections show the storm on a path that will take it further east into the Atlantic Ocean. However, meteorologists and officials have warned the storm could still change paths and have effects inland.
North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory has declared a state of emergency in 66 counties in the state.
As of Wednesday, more than $62,000 had been raised throughout the Relay for Life campaign’s duration. While some individuals had raised thousands of dollars, $30,579.11 was donated by a team from Renfro Corporation.
Parsons noted there is a bright side for the group, which has set a goal of raising $100,000 during its 2016 relay.
“It gives us more time to relay — to raise money.”