The Sackville Relay for Life may have undergone several changes since it was last held in 2017, but the goal remains the same: to celebrate local survivors, honour those who have been lost and raise funds to fight all types of cancer.
It was announced last fall the long-time local fundraiser would be moved from October to March 2019 as organizers were set to unveil a new format in an effort to re-energize the event.
At the time, Jason Thorpe, the Maritime Relay for Life youth coordinator of the Canadian Cancer Society, said after consulting with Mount Allison University and community stakeholders previously involved in the event, it was decided to reschedule the local fundraiser so it would coincide with other post-secondary relays throughout Atlantic Canada.
Another major change announced in the fall is that the event will be entirely student-led. In previous years, the organizing committee for the local relay consisted of students and members of the Sackville community.
Mount Allison students Jaden Snethun and Sarah Park, members of the organizing committee for this month’s local relay, said one of their main goals is to increase campus participation by students and faculty.
“Residence life is super big at Mount Allison,” Park said, “so we’re trying to do some healthy competitions between residences … we’re hoping to get the athletics teams, say soccer teams versus the basketball teams involved and we’re trying to get departments involved, as well, so like trying to pit the classics department against religious studies or psychology versus chemistry. We find that healthy competition increases (registration).”
Despite the move to increase student participation, Snethun and Park stressed the importance of ongoing involvement by Sackville residents.
“We don’t want to seem like we’re polarizing toward Mount Allison,” Park said.
Snethun added, “We definitely need the (Sackville) community’s support, for sure.”
They admit one the biggest challenges they face this year is that they are, in some ways, rebuilding the event from the ground up.
They do, however, have a strong support network. Since they’ve aligned the Sackville fundraiser with relays at other Atlantic Canadian universities, they’ve received valuable input from their already established committees.
“Having the youth network has definitely helped us get our feet off the ground here,” Park said.
They’re also relying on the experience of former Sackville community members, especially former co-chair Bob Caldwell.
“Bob and the old committee are super supportive,” Snethun said, “and we’re going to start meeting with them to make sure we’re on track.”
Despite this being somewhat of a rebuilding year for the local relay, Park said she has no doubt it will be a high-energy, successful event.
“I’m definitely confident we’ll have enough spirit to go around.”
And the core events from previous Sackville Relay for Life fundraisers will continue to play an important role in this year’s event, including the survivors’ banquet, survivors’ lap and luminary ceremony.
This year’s Relay is scheduled for Friday, March 22, in the Mount Allison athletic centre from 4-10 p.m.
For updates and additional information, visit the Sackville Relay for Life Facebook page (MTA Relay for Life), check them out Instagram (@relaymounta) and Twitter (MtA Relay for Life). People can also find the link on those platforms to sign up to participate individually or as a team.
About the Relay for Life
The Canadian Cancer Society Relay For Life is a nationwide event that brings communities together to celebrate survivors, honour those we’ve lost and commit to raising funds to fight all types of cancer. Relay For Life brings people of all ages together to raise funds to help Canada’s brightest researchers discover breakthroughs that could save lives, and ensure vital support services are available so that no one will have to face cancer alone. The participation of every person, team and community helps work towards a world where no one has to fear cancer.