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The Survivors walk
REPORTING · 15th June 2013
Walter McFarlane
The fourteenth Relay for Life took place at the Mount Elizabeth Track on Saturday, June 1st. It was also the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Cancer Association. The event was about coming together as a community.

“We are going to Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back. What that means is we are going to celebrate the survivors and the caregivers, we are going to celebrate life together and the fight against cancer and those who already won their fight against cancer and continue to do so. Then we are going to remember those who are currently in treatments and who have passed on and give our respects. It is a part of why we are here. And Fight back. How can we prevent Cancer from happening,” said Ariel Winkelmeyer, Leadership Chair.

There were multiple events planned throughout the day to draw the runners closer together as they competed for a team spirit prize. There were a lot of plans for children’s events throughout the day.

Mayor Joanne Monaghan was asked to say a couple of words. “I think this is one event in the community where everyone can get together, they can work together. We have all been, in some way, been touched by cancer. It means so much to talk together, be together and work together.”

She said that in 2012, there were more than 180 new cases of Cancer were diagnosed and more than 75 people lost their battle with Cancer. She proclaimed the Canadian Relay for Life was a celebration of survival and an inspiration for people living with the disease, a day to celebrate with the people who have survived and a day to pay tribute to those who are no longer with us.

“Everyone here today has made a personal commitment to fight against Cancer in the hope of finding a cure for this terrible disease. Hope and hopelessness are both a choice so let’s choose hope," said Monaghan.

There were a lot of hick-ups throughout the day as well. One such was the lack of power from the school so the stage power was powered by generators.

At 8:00, pm, the remembrance ceremony began. Abbie Vomaka sang a song and a group of students from Saint Anthony’s did a dance on behalf of a teacher who is fighting Cancer. A table with an empty chair, set for one and full of symbolism was set on stage represent those who are no longer with us.

For 8:20, the luminaries were set out along the track and people were encourage walk past them and remember them. However, the change in time for the luminary ceremony was poorly advertised so this years remembrance ceremony competed with a children’s soccer game in the middle of the field, people still walking around the track and at their sites. Most people around the stage continued to enjoy the entertainment.

We were later told by people who have attended the relay for many years that they were not even aware it was taking place, and they were expecting it to take place at 10 as it always has.

It was… in this reporters opinion… Disrespectful.

At 10:00, the luminaries were lit and the total for the night was announced. The Team Spirit Award went to Ariel’s Team. The top fundraising individual was Patrick Kasey who raised $14,102. The top fundraising team was Kitimat Modernization Project which raised over $29,711. The night’s total was $109,349.98. As of publication, the number is $118,863 with an expected total of $120,000 when all is counted. The 50/50 has not been claimed. The number is: 644728 and it can be claimed at Carlyle Shepherd and Co, Chartered Accountants.

The night ended with the fight back ceremony, a celebration consisting of Zoomba, followed by another lap of the track.

The committee explained they were pretty new to this and had a lot of complications throughout the day.
The empty seat
The empty seat
Honouring a teacher
Honouring a teacher
The Luminary 'Ceremony'
The Luminary 'Ceremony'