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Survivors receive Relay tote bags

Long-time Relay for Life volunteer Betty Bonnette puts together tote bags for cancer survivors. (Photo Provided)

Although the Washington County Relay for Life was canceled this year, cancer survivors were still recognized.

Debbie Cline, Relay volunteer, said Thermo Fisher Scientific always does the luminaria that light up Belpre’s Civitan Park during the Relay for Life.

“Since we couldn’t do that this year, they still wanted to recognize cancer survivors,” she explained. “Trademark Solutions put together a tote bag and Thermo Fisher made key rings and put in survivor pins for whatever year, then they were mailed out.”

Tim Bonnette, who works in the cryo-med department, said the luminaria are plastic reusable containers that are sold each year for $10 each.

A cancer survivor’s name is written on it and the luminaria are lit for the Relay.

There are around 1,200 luminaria on the track every year, with the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society.

“The tote bags are always a part of the Relay,” Bonnette said. There is a survivor tent with donated items that are given to the cancer survivors.

“Most survivors are registered in Washington County, and we wanted to make sure they got something,” he noted.

Every year, the survivors get a pin, so if they’ve survived 15 years, they get 15 pins, Bonnette said.

The 190 mailers were put together by Bonnette’s mother, long-time Relay volunteer Betty Bonnette. Included in the mailing was a letter letting the cancer survivors know they are not forgotten.

Thermo has always had a Relay team, with 14 active members, and around 60 that sign up to participate in the Relay every year. There are also internal events held within the company, Bonnette noted.

“A large percentage of their products go for cancer research,” he explained.

“Those things are made here in Marietta, such as incubators and long-term service freezers. Cryogenic storage for research stuff.”

Thermo’s team has always been good about raising money for cancer research. They brought in up to $22,000 in one year, just within the Marietta plant, Bonnette said.

He said the mailings have already made an impact on the cancer survivors.

“We’ve received calls from people who received their mailings and were thrilled to get them,” he said. “It reminded them people still cared.”

Plans are also in the works to tie in with the First Friday event in October, which has a Fall Fest theme.

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