This summer’s major fundraisers for the American Cancer Society in Iowa are undergoing significant changes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Relay For Life is held every summer in many Iowa cities to raise funds for research and services for cancer patients and their families. Iowa chapter spokesman Brian Ortner says many once-familiar events are going virtual in 2020. “Some events are being postponed, so either later in the summer or early fall,” Ortner says, “and some are taking on different looks where communities are trying to be creative in how they get to do their fundraising or in what kind of event they can hold.”

The Relay For Life events are often the biggest fundraisers of the year and they’re vital, according to Ortner. “Donations are key to us being able to continue to serve the patients and the families,” Ortner says. “Even though it seems like the world has stopped, cancer hasn’t stopped and neither have we. The resources for patients are still available. Our 24-7 Cancer Helpline and the National Cancer Information Center is still available. We need to funds to make sure resources like that continue.”

The coronavirus has many people fearful, but especially those who are in the greatest danger.  “Preexisting conditions are one thing that makes this COVID-19 pandemic so concerning for some people,” he says, “and cancer patients are definitely in that class of being at high risk when it comes to being exposed to COVID-19.”

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(Pat Powers, KQWC, Webster City contributed to this report.)