AMHERST – Amherst’s Relay for Life organizers paid tribute to one of its biggest supporters earlier this week presenting a photograph of the late Francis Smith to Mayor Robert Small.
Smith, who had been an ardent supporter of the relay through the Amherst Police Department, lost his personal battle against cancer last December.
“Francis was a great friend to the Relay for Life. He protected us, kept us safe and is someone for whom we will always be grateful,” Canadian Cancer Society district co-ordinator Sharon Bristol said in presenting the photo at town council’s September session on Monday.
Bristol said Relay for Life will be celebrating 10 years in June 2013 and introduced Sheila Christie as the chairwoman of the event.
Relay for Life has raised more than $1 million in 10 years. Because of this, the cancer society is able to offer programs and services for people living with cancer and support the best research, prevention and advocacy initiatives.
The society, she said, has advocated for smoke-free outdoor spaces, a ban on cosmetic pesticides and a ban on the use of tanning beds by people under age 19. It is also advocating for a national catastrophic drug program because it strongly believes that all Canadians must have access to cancer drug treatments without financial hardship.
On the prevention side, Bristol said the cancer society has advocated for screening programs and more early detection. The Smokers Help Line has helped more than 12,000 Nova Scotians in the last 10 years with more than 1,100 registering for the Smokers’ Helpline Online – including 92 from the Cumberland district.
The cancer society supports the Lodge That Gives that offers a home away from home for cancer patients receiving treatments in Halifax and it also supports Camp Goodtime and more recently Brigadoon Village in the Annapolis Valley.
Cancer Connections offers a one-on-one peer support program, the Cancer Information Service has helped more than a million people with questions since 1996, while $850,000 from Nova Scotia went to cancer research last year.
“Every day we are discovering new ways to deter, defy and defeat cancer. Whether through research advances, helping people prevent this disease or direct support to patients in their time of need, together we continue to fight back against cancer,” Bristol said. “There is still more work to do and so we look forward to another great year of awareness and fundraising to put an end to cancer.”