Hit the track for a terrific cause this June, as plans for the annual Canadian Cancer Society ‘Relay for Life fundraiser’ are well underway.
This year’s event runs June 13 at CrossRoads Church from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life is a unique opportunity for communities to come together and celebrate cancer survivors, remember loved ones and fight back against all cancers.
The Relay For Life is a 12-hour, overnight, non-competitive event that involves teams of up to 15 participants who take turns walking or running around a track. The event opens with a Survivors’ Victory Lap, where cancer survivors kick off the event by walking an inspirational first lap. Luminaries are lit during a moving ceremony at dusk.
Their light pays tribute to loved ones and provides motivation and encouragement to participants all night long.
Relay for Life Co-Chair Sharon Butler said the event is “A celebration of survival, a tribute to the lives of loved ones, and a night of fun, friendship and fundraising to beat cancer.”
Things start with the Survivor’s Victory Lap, she said. “It celebrates their courage in their struggle with cancer. It’s a very emotional event, and very inspiring.”
Another highlight is the luminary ceremony. These are special candles placed around the track. “At dusk they are lit. They are placed in honour of cancer survivors, in memory of loved ones and friends. They are lit in a very moving ceremony, and provide light and inspiration as well as for participants throughout the night.”
Participants can dedicate the luminaries to remember and honour loved ones. Luminaries can also be purchased at the event or online before Relay for Life.
Each year, more than 500 communities nationwide participate by supporting the largest cancer fundraiser in Canada. Last year, through Relay For Life the Canadian Cancer Society raised almost $47 million.
Cancer survivor and Co-Chair Richard Bone said learning of his own diagnosis in late 2012 has brought a powerfully new perspective of the importance of events like Relay for Life.
Last year, he took part in Relay for Life. “When we did the Survivors’ Lap, that’s when it really hit me what this is all about. You talk with the people you are walking with – there are a lot of tears and lots of stories. And it provides you with a lot of hope and a lot of strength.
“That’s what Relay is to me – it’s a tool of inspiration, strength and of hope.”
Last year, 16,224 teams raised $46.5 million across Canada. For the Alberta/NWT region, 42 Relay events took place with $3.78 million raised.
In Red Deer, Relay for Life is heading into its 13th year, said Butler.
“In the past 12 years that Red Deer has been a part of Relay for Life, we have raised $2,618,972. I say way to go Red Deer.”
Proceeds from Relay for Life support leading edge cancer research in Canada and provide support to people living with cancer and their families.
For event details or more information about Relay, visit relayforlife.ca.