Celebrate, remember, fight

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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10th Relay for Life continues fight against cancer

AMHERST – Several hundred people came together to celebrate, remember and fight back against one of Canada’s leading killers.

More than 30 teams spent the night walking around a makeshift track at the Robb Centennial Complex taking part in the 10th annual Relay for Life that raises money for the fight against cancer.

“I’m truly humbled by what I see here tonight and the impact you are making,” Kelly Wilson of the Canadian Cancer Society said during the official opening. “I wish you could see the impact you’re making through my eyes every single day. This is much more than a cancer fundraiser and you have exemplified that by what you are doing here tonight.”

The final tally won’t be known until early Saturday morning, but it’s believed that several hundred thousand dollars will be raised by more than 30 teams.

The evening began with an emotional survivors and caregivers banquet during with Rev. Jonathan Cole talked about his recent battle with a brain tumour.

“The truth is everyone of us can make the difference needed in our world and many of you are,” Cole said. “I was thinking of the Sunday morning after my brain surgery. I looked in the mirror at my bandaged swollen head and neck. I felt dizzy, disoriented and the whole situation felt overwhelming. We all have a choice, we can be bitter or better. Our attitude determines our altitude and I made up my mind that I wasn’t going to sit there and focus on my inabilities, but rather focus on what I could do.”

Following an emotional survivors’ and caregivers’ walk, that had the largest participation in 10 years, the event was officially kicked off with an inspirational message from several cancer survivors and music by Pius Burke and June MacDonald.

Teams were honoured for the accomplishments with certificates handed out for teams raising between $3,000 and $5,000, up to $7,500, $10,000, $20,000 and more than $20,000.

One team, Team Scotia, raised more than $26,000 while the BK Believers raised just under $20,000.

“Overwelming,” BK Believers’ captain Daren White said. “This is a community event. It just shows how much cancer has touched people and how much people care.”

Joan Cameron said it was very emotional to walk around the track and see everyone who has raised money cheering them on. Without the money Relay for Life has raised, she wouldn’t be here today.

“A dozen years ago or more a lot of us wouldn’t have survived without all the advances that have been made and those advances have been made as a result of events like this. Instead of them clapping for us, we should be clapping for them and saying thank you,” Cameron said.

Wayne Myatt, who participated in his first relay since becoming a cancer survivor, said the event has added meaning for him.

“You learn very quickly that you’re not alone, it’s a big family,” said Myatt, who lost a son to cancer 20 years ago.  “I was here last year but I was only part of the way through my treatment. This year is a celebration as opposed to a battle.”

Students from Spring Street Academy sang about hope and a pair of ceremonial candles were lit during a stirring luminary ceremony after which more than 1,700 luminaries ringing the track were also lit.

dcole@amherstdaily.com

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Canadian Cancer Society, Street Academy

Geographic location: Canada

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  • Glenda macCormack
    June 08, 2013 - 18:26

    I attended and volunteered for the run in Sydney,NS last night .My granddaughter Alisha came with me she ended up volunteering a little herself at age 13. We do need as many volunteers as possible to help out these activities. For those who have never came to this event they don't know what they are missing. It is an amazing site to see and how everyone comes together. Hope to see more people there next year. Prayers go out to all the survivors and their families.