Newport News, Va. - COVID-19 has grounded the American Cancer Society’s events and community organizing, slicing annual fundraising efforts in half. In lieu of large events, Virginians will join together at a safe distance on September 20 and light luminaria or decorative keepsake bags in their homes, neighborhoods and at area businesses to remember and to honor all those who have faced cancer.

Riverside Health System, a long-time sponsor and partner of the American Cancer Society, will host drive-thru luminaria experiences on Sunday, September 20 from 7:30-8:30 p.m. at the following hospital campuses:

  • Riverside Regional Medical Center, 500 J Clyde Morris Blvd, Newport News, VA 23601
  • Riverside Doctors’ Hospital Williamsburg, 1500 Commonwealth Ave, Williamsburg, VA 23185
  • Riverside Walter Reed Hospital, 7519 Hospital Dr, Gloucester, VA 23061
  • Riverside Tappahannock Hospital, 618 Hospital Rd, Tappahannock, VA 22560

Luminaria ceremonies are traditionally held during annual Relay For Life events.

“It gives a chance to celebrate lives,” said Fran Holcomb, BSN, RN, OCN®, a cancer education and outreach nurse for Riverside.

These drive-thru luminaria experiences allow for participants to recapture the sense of community support while maintaining a safe distance.

“The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life is all about togetherness,” said Michele Couch, Virginia Area Director for the Society, “But the safety of our patients, survivors, volunteers, and staff remains the highest priority.”

“We are in danger of losing a generation of progress in scientific research and a generation of lifesaving cancer treatments if we don’t act now. The end of cancer begins with research, which is why it has always been vital to achieving our mission. Research takes years to come to fruition. A cancer breakthrough begins perhaps 10-20 years earlier. If research is disrupted today, it means lives lost tomorrow,” said Couch.

Support the Riverside Health System Cancer Care Relay For Life Team by dedicating a luminaria. Visit bit.ly/2020RiversideRFL and select “Dedicate a Luminaria”.

If you are interested in volunteering at any of the drive-thru events, please contact Fran Holcomb at 1-800-520-7006.

About Riverside

Riverside Health System offers a comprehensive span of services, from birth of a child through end of life, touching more than 2 million people each year. Our care is integrated, allowing us to work together seamlessly across our network to support you in health, illness, recovery and wellness.

About the American Cancer Society

The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 1.5 million volunteers dedicated to saving lives, celebrating lives, and leading the fight for a world without cancer. From breakthrough research, to free lodging near treatment, a 24/7/365 live helpline, free rides to treatment, and convening powerful activists to create awareness and impact, the Society is the only organization attacking cancer from every angle. For more information go to www.cancer.org.

Published: September 14, 2020