PARRSBORO – The fight against cancer remains strong in this town, and the proof is walking circles around the Lions Arena right now.
Parrsboro sixth annual Relay for Life fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society is underway, with numerous teams from within the community celebrating their efforts with a 12-hour trek that kicked off at 7 p.m. on June 14.
“You want to beat cancer, don’t you?” master of ceremonies Frank Hartman challenged the gathered teams, during the opening ceremony. “You want to help people in your community, right? You worked tirelessly to collect donations, didn’t you? You’re ready to endure a long and maybe even cold night here in the arena, right?”
The event drew a smaller number of teams this year, with a total of nine introduced by the MC, who praised them all for their hard work. Although a grand total will not be available until the conclusion of the event, the following top fundraising teams were recognized: Commit to the Cure - $5,012.05; The Groundbreakers - $3,763.01; and Maddie’s Cancer Busting Ballerinas - $3,092.80.
Prior to the actual relay kicking off with the emotional survivor’s lap, which this year happened to the sounds of local vocalist Donna Benjamin, greetings were offered by Mayor Lois Smith and Michelle Bohaychuk of the Canadian Cancer Society.
Bohaychuk spoke about last week’s Relay for Life in Halifax, which was canceled after a bomb threat was called in to the event.
“Last week’s events at the Halifax relay were difficult, but one thing that shines through everything that has happened is our perseverance,” she said. “We’re on a mission to change cancer forever, and we will not be discouraged.”
Relay for Life is the largest cancer fundraising event in the world, taking place in 22 countries. Last year it raised $51 million across Canada, $2.5 million of which came from Nova Scotia.
“I’ve come to realize that Relay for Life is more than just a fundraiser,” said Bohaychuk. “It’s a celebration of survival, a tribute to loved ones who have been touched by cancer, and also an opportunity to fight back.”The evening was also to include an appearance from Big Brother Canada contestant Emmette Blois.