Heavy rains hamper cancer relay

By Jordan Cohen

Another relay is planned this weekend in Warren.

NILES — Shawn Bryant says money raised by the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life last Friday and Saturday fell short of its $113,000 goal by more than $32,000.

Bryant, the event chairman who also is a cancer survivor, said hundreds of walkers raised $80,489 despite “having the plug pulled” several times because of the weekend’s heavy rains.

“Things got so bad at one point we evacuated and went into the [Niles McKinley High School] gymnasium around 7:30 Friday night,” Bryant said. The inclement weather had managed to hold off for the opening ceremonies at Bo Rein Stadium, which included a procession of 150 cancer survivors 90 minutes before the rains came.

“I was a little bit down because we didn’t raise the money we wanted, but I realize you can’t control things when the rain hits like that,” the Howland resident said.

“Considering what we had to go through, I feel that all in all it wasn’t a bad day of work.”

The relay, in its ninth year in Niles, was supposed to last 24 hours, but Bryant and his committee made “an educated decision” to end it two hours early when the rains hit again Saturday afternoon.

“It’s too bad because we had the people and publicity, but we lost our momentum and it made no sense to keep our people out there,” Bryant said, adding that he had nothing but praise for the marchers’ willingness to “walk through the raindrops.”

“They did a terrific job,” Bryant said.

The next Relay for Life is scheduled this weekend in Warren.

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