Local cancer survivor Malcolm Elliott, shown above getting his long locks shaved off during last year’s Relay for Life, will be one of several speakers during this year’s event.
With $10,000 already in the bank, local Relay For Life organizers are reasonably confident they will reach their goal of $75,000 by the time the 12-hour marathon walk comes to conclusion on Saturday morning, Oct. 19.
Only nine days remain until hundreds of folks from throughout the Tantramar region don period costumes and launch the 11th annual event here in Sackville and co-chair Sheila Parker says excitement has set in because of the outstanding response from throughout the greater community.
The Relay began as a Mount Allison student project, with the Yellow Ribbon Society as the catalyst. Then concerned Sackville residents joined forces to create the Sackville-Mount Allison Relay For Life, the only such event in New Brunswick not staged in June each year. This, of course, was due to the fact the students would not be returning to campus until early September after having departed in late April or early May. The October date was struck upon as it allowed student organizers a few weeks to make preparations.
Now the Relay has taken root in many communities thoughout Tantramar, spearheaded by Jan Legere of Port Elgin, a cancer survivor and retired teacher and school administrator. She has encouraged participation by groups in such villages as Murray Corner, Bayfield and Cape Tormentine, while support also comes from places like Point de Bute, Dorchester and Mount Whatley.
These communities sponsor teams of 10 or more men and women who take turns walking around the Mount Allison quadrangle for 12 hours to raise valuable funds, which go primarily for cancer research but also for support for survivors and educational programs like teaching the hazards of smoking.
In addition to the walk, there will be a variety of entertainment with the RCMP being on hand to incarcerate individuals for committing acts of mayhem, forcing them to pay their way out of the brig or recruit some friends with ready cash. Music will be provided all night at two locations with both local and campus groups performing free of charge, and the ever-popular vocalist Jennie DelMotte will sing songs of remembrance and inspiration during the emotional and moving luminary ceremony. During this period, walkers will pause to pay respect to victims and survivors of the cancer scourge. Luminaries are being sold until the night of the relay and consist of a candle placed inside a fire-retardant paper bag with the name of the individual being honoured on the outside. These are placed in alphabetical order around the walking area so sponsors may find their own.
Parker reminds everyone that this is the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Cancer Society and thus the goal of $75,000. She remains confident the goal will be reached, noting that more sponsors than ever have signed on with the latest being the Port Elgin Rotary Club.
Jan Legere has agreed to be the guest speaker for the opening ceremonies, Wynn Meldrum will serve as guest speaker for the Luminary ceremony of remembrance and student Malcolm Elliott will address the group during the Fight Back closing ceremony.
While there will be activities taking place throughout the night and morning of Oct. 18-19, Parker reminds participants that there will be a supply of nourishing refreshments in the Manning Room arranged under the leadership of Lisa Steeves.
And she adds that Dawne Boorne, registered massage therapist, will be donating her time by providing 10-minute massages for donations to the Relay. Co-chair Ryan Reid and his team Check "Em will be selling team t-shirts to raise additional funds for the relay.