Relay for Life to hold luminaria ceremony


Relay for Life of Dubois County plans to hold its annual luminaria ceremony in September.

The ceremony remembers by name people who died from cancer as well as honors those who are still battling the disease.

“We didn’t want these people to think that because COVID is going on, they’ve been forgotten about,” said Diana O’Keefe, co-chair for Relay for Life of Dubois County. “People are still getting cancer. People are still being treated for cancer. People are still dying from cancer. This was something we wanted to do to let them know that just because everything else is going on right now, we have not forgotten about you.”

The luminaria ceremony is normally part of the Relay for Life event that’s held every year at Jasper Middle School. But this year’s event, which was to be in June, was canceled due to the virus.

The Sept. 26 luminaria ceremony will be held on the Dubois County Courthouse grounds. The bags will be aglow by 9 p.m. and will continue to glow until 11 p.m.

Health precautions due to the virus may make gathering for the ceremony more difficult, but people are welcome to come see the bags and reflect during those two hours. “People can drive around the Square and see them,” O’Keefe suggested.

If someone wants to walk around the courthouse to look at the bags, they are asked to follow the health guidelines that are in place at that time. Some of the main guidelines currently in place are wearing masks — which is a state mandate — social distancing from others, and staying at home if you are sick.

Organizers know that donations will be down considerably this year, because the numerous public fundraisers various Relay teams would normally be sponsoring are not happening.

“They can’t do the bake sales. They can’t do the car washes or the cookouts, those kinds of things,” O’Keefe said. “And with more people being out of work, it’s hard to ask them for money, when they’re trying to figure out how they’re going to pay their bills.”

Event organizers thought about trying to hold the entire event in September. But with the uncertainty surrounding the current epidemic, “we really didn’t think we’d get the in-person participation,” O’Keefe explained.

But the signature event is the luminaria ceremony. And organizers decided that they should still have the ceremony, she said.

People can give a donation to Relay for Life of Dubois County to have a bag named in memory someone who lost his or her cancer battle or in honor of someone who is currently battling cancer. That person’s name would be on the white bag. Those names and donations can be submitted online at Anyone interested in giving a general donation can do so at the site.

Relay for Life is also selling a T-shirt that says “Hope 2020 Now More Than Ever!” The shirts come in five colors and sizes range from adult size small to 6X. They are $15 each for up to size XL; the bigger sizes cost a little more. For each shirt sold, Relay for Life receives a $10 donation. Shirts can be ordered through

For questions about the luminaria ceremony or about making donations to Relay for Life, contact O’Keefe at 812-630-2301.

More on