“Love Lights a Tree,” which is sponsored by the local chapter of American Cancer Society, will be going virtual this year because of concerns stemming from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Normally we would have the event in Cannon Park in downtown Canton, but given the current situation we are in, we decided it would be best to record a video that would consist of our honorees’ family speaking, as well as our guest speakers and our musician,” event coordinator Brandon Roberts said. “We will put all of that together, which will be available to watch on our Facebook page and website the day after Thanksgiving. It’s basically the same thing we would be doing as normal, just in a virtual format.”

The event, just like every year, will allow the community to purchase ornaments to go on the old Christmas tree in Cannon Park, 130 E. Main St. in downtown Canton. For a donation of $15 or more, people can purchase an ornament “in memory” or “in honor” of a loved one. Donations vary from $10 to $200. The proceeds go to the society in support of cancer research.

“Ornaments will still be placed on the tree the week of Thanksgiving, and people will still be able to come and visit the tree whenever they would like,” Roberts said. “We just won’t be having an in-person event like we always do.”

This year, the tree is dedicated to three people whose lives have been lost to cancer: Wayne Gayton, Elaine D. Thomason, and Lowell Syers. Survivor testimony will be given by Bonny Spears and Eve Priest.

“Many people have been affected by cancer in one way or another,” Roberts said. “This is a great event and all the money that is made through this will go to the American Cancer Society.”

Hannah Campbell, who helped Roberts coordinate the event, added that this is a subject matter that hits close to home for her and many members of the community, which makes this a special annual event.

“This is an event that will help bring the community together during the holidays to support a great cause,” she said.

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Ethan is a reporter covering the cities of Holly Springs & Canton. He also covers city governments and lifestyle. He is a graduate of Kennesaw State University.

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