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BELLA VISTA -- Although the schedule was adjusted around the coronavirus guidelines, the Cancer Challenge is returning to Bella Vista on Friday, Saturday and Aug. 8.

But this year will be a little different, director Teresa Burke said.

Most of the events are on, except for the gala and the volunteer dinner usually kicking off the celebration. Burke forecasts about half the normal participants will turn out and that, unfortunately, means less money will be raised.

Sponsors are also down because so many offices are closed.

All the money raised by the Cancer Challenge -- $13.2 million over 27 years -- goes to local cancer services programs, including the new children's hospital where local childhood cancer patients can be treated, Community Clinic where low-income patients can be screened and treated, and Hope Cancer Resources which provides patient navigation, financial assistance for early-detection screenings, financial help with daily expenses, counseling services, and cancer prevention education.

All the programs are asked to apply for a grant and later to report back on how the money was used.

Since most of the Cancer Challenge events are outdoors, they can continue with some modifications, Burke said. The golf tournament will be on the course at Kingsdale, but it will be organized with tee times instead of a shotgun start.

A registration tent will be set up in the parking lot so participants can register and pick up their goody bags as they get ready to start.

Tennis tournaments for both adults and young people will go on, but the social has morphed into a "Happy Hour" for participants to come in and get their goody bags and go home.

The 5K run around Lake Bella Vista has become a virtual run, although participants can still get their T-shirts and other incentives at the golf registration tent.

The trap shoot will go on as scheduled.

Burke said while many of their regular volunteers will be back, some will not be available. With the lower numbers of participants, they won't need as many volunteers as usual, she said.

When the date was changed from June to August, the staff of the Cancer Challenge had to think about safety. Nurses from Community Clinic will be on hand, and several misting tents will be set up to cool participants down.

"Safety is our top priority," Burke said. "We feel lucky to be able to do this."

For more information, or to sign up for an event, go to their webpage, www.cancerchallenge.com.

Lynn Atkins may be reached by email at [email protected]

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