Organizers of this year’s Sackville-Mount Allison Relay for Life have set a goal of $75,000. Above, participants in a previous Relay for Life are all smiles as they take part in warm-up exercises prior to the event kicking off.
Little time remains – actually just over 48 hours – until the Tantramar region launches its 11th annual Relay For Life.
Hundreds of fundraising walkers will kick into gear at 7 o'clock Friday night and begin a 12-hour "vigil" to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society, which will be used to conduct vital research, to provide badly needed assistance to survivors of cancer and to continue with an educational program to promote healthy living as a way to cut back on the number of victims of the disease.
Each year sees hundreds and hundreds of participants braving the elements with one goal in mind – to play a role in defeating the scourge that affects so many lives in Canada, as well as around the world.
Actually, Sackville researchers are playing an ever-growing role through the work being done at Soricimed Biopharma Inc. labs.
Sheila Parker, co-chair of the Sackville-Mount Allison event, said on the weekend that more than $15,000 is already in the bank, while the number of teams has reached 26 and growing with a goal of 35.
Officials have set an auspicious goal of $75,000 to mark the 75th anniversary of the Canadian Cancer Society. This would surpass any previous figure by $10,000 but Parker and co-chair Ryan Reid have expressed confidence that it will be attained.
Each team consists of 10 or more individuals who contribute $10 each and then solicit sponsors. There is a competition between teams for the honour of raising the most pledges and also an opportunity to win prizes provided by sponsors.
Each year all cancer survivors in Tantramar are invited to a dinner the night prior to the event at the Main Street Baptist Church when a survivor will be the speaker. Then the following night, to officially launch the Relay, as many survivors as possible will take part in the Survivors Walk with former cancer patient Pam Bowman, a supporter of the Dragon Boat Team, leading them in the National Anthem.
Participants are guaranteed many activities during the night. With Dan Luong as coordinator there will be such fun events as human bingo, tug of war and extreme rock, paper, scissors. And Mount Allison's Dance Society will be performing routines for the enjoyment of the walkers and observers. Under the leadership of Ernie Sears, there will be plenty of music and bands while disc jockey Neal Patterson will take over later playing music from different eras to go with the theme "A Walk Through Time”.
Refreshments will be available throughout the night in the Manning room of the chapel, while security will be on hand to support the tobacco and alcohol free event.
More than 200 luminaries have already been sold and many more will line the quadrangle on the Mount Allison campus where the Relay will unfold.
The set up of tents, sand bags and other paraphernalia will begin at 4:30 Friday afternoon and a call for volunteers has been issued to assist with this aspect as well as with the luminaries and with cleanup at 6:30 Saturday morning. Volunteers may enroll by phoning Sheila Parker at 536-1867 or simply by showing up for work at the site.