Walking to beat cancer in Parrsboro

Seventh relay raises $28,000-plus

Darrell Cole webcomments@ngnews.ca
Published on June 15, 2014
Survivors make their way around the track during the Victory Lap at the seventh Relay for Life in Parrsboro on Friday. The 11 teams raised more than $28,000.
Darrell Cole – Cumberlandnewsnow.com

Eleven teams raised more than $28,000 at Parrsboro's seventh Relay for Life.

PARRSBORO – There were many stories of survival and lost loved ones during Parrsboro’s seventh Relay for Life on Friday night at the Lions Arena.

Between 7 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday, 11 teams walked around a makeshift track inside the rink raising more than $28,000 for cancer research and programs.

For some participants the relay was extremely emotional and personal.

“My wife had kidney cancer and she recently passed away,” relay participant Harlan Rushton said. “She did the relay for several years and I felt that it’s up to us to carry on what she started. Cancer is a big problem.”

His wife, Pam, died just last month and Harlan walked around the track holding her photo as a member of Pam’s Country Cuz’s.

He said it’s important to continuing holding events such as the relay so it can save others.

“With the money we’re raising here tonight we can pay for research that could lead to a faster diagnosis. That’s what her problem was, by the time she was diagnosed it was too late,” Rushton said. “She had a pain in her back last fall and by the time she got a scan they found the cancer.”

The Canadian Cancer Society’s district co-ordinator Sharon Bristol said it’s stories like Rushton’s that motivate people to keep fighting against cancer. She said it shows how ruthless cancer can be, but it also makes people even more determined to beat it.

“We are curing cancer every single day in Canada and we are doing so because of the money that is raised for research, disease prevention and early diagnosis,” Bristol said. “Cancer is a disease of over 200 types, but today more than 62  per cent of those diagnosed with cancer will survive and that’s compared to only 25 per cent 30 years ago. We are making huge strides against this disease, but we still have a lot of work to do.”

Bristol said $45 million in research was done across Canada last year and some of that money came from relays like the ones in Parrsboro on Friday and in Amherst last Saturday.

“Every day there are new groundbreaking ways in which we are tackling this disease,” Bristol said. “Last year, we contributed $1.372 million to research that’s going on right here in Nova Scotia.”

Money also goes to support patients and families going through the disease through the Lodge That Gives in Halifax, through Cancer Connections and through Camp Goodtime.

The start of the relay found Art Sargent doing a celebratory dance on stage as several dozen survivors made a victory lap around the track.

“I was just so happy to see everyone here tonight and with the fact my wife beat cancer several years ago I just had to dance,” said Sargent. “It’s remarkable to see so many people here tonight and to hear some of the stories from those who have fought and beat cancer and those who are fighting it. Some of them have such a positive attitude. They’re an inspiration.”

Katie Henwood, who was a member of the organizing committee, said the relay keeps growing every year in Parrsboro and she was thrilled with the number of young people who participated.

The relay included a lot of high school participants including the Nerds for a Cure.

“I think everyone had a personal story to tell about how cancer has affected them,” said Henwood, who was also a member of Ron Levy’s Groundbreakers Team. “Our family has had a lot of people who’ve had cancer or know people who’ve had it.”


Twitter: @ADNdarrell