By Heather Killen
An Annapolis County man is proof that two head-shaves are better than one.
Raymond Burns, of South Farmington, has been named one of the Nova Scotia Division Youth Volunteers of 2012, by the Nova Scotia division of the Canadian Cancer Society. He is among three Nova Scotians who will be receiving this award at a celebration dinner to be held later this year.
“This young man has been instrumental in keeping Middleton’s Relay For Life organizing committee inspired and motivated for the past three years,” says Kristin Matheson, Valley division coordinator. “Volunteers like Raymond who demonstrate this incredible level of passion and drive are the reason that our mission is possible.”
A few years ago, Burns found a way to split hairs and raise extra money for the Canadian Cancer Society. He made a bet with Kentville volunteers that if they supported him, he would shave one-half of his head at Middleton’s Relay For Life and the second half of his head during the Relay in Kentville.
“They bet me $100,” Burns said. “I didn’t think they would raise the money, but it didn’t take them long to come up with it.”
While this move enabled him to generate pledges from Kentville, he had to go around all week with half his head shaved, according to Matheson. It took courage to do this, she added that he used it as an opportunity to talk to people about the Relay and encourage other people to become involved.
Burns, who is chairing the Relay’s organizing committee, says he’s surprised and honoured to be named for this award. He’s been volunteering with the Middleton event ever since he was a student in Grade 11.
It started as part of his classwork. He was required to give eight hours of volunteer work and chose to do his shift with the Canadian Cancer Society. He said he liked it so much, that he came back to help during the Relay For Life.
In 2008, he was asked to join the organizing committee and took on the role of Luminary Co-chair in 2009 and by 2010, he had his own team. He’s also the unofficial parade manager for the three Valley-based Relay event committees, helping them to get the word out on the streets during the community festivals.
Above And Beyond
Two years ago he took on the role of Event Development Chair for the Middleton Relay For Life. Burns has been an energetic supporter and fundraiser; and this enthusiasm has become a family affair, according to Kristin Matheson.
“Raymond and his parents continually go above and beyond the call of duty to support the RFL,” she said. “Family and friends rallied together to cook the pancake breakfast last year and prepared homemade soup for volunteers to enjoy.”
Burns’ 11-member Relay team is already going strong fundraising. They raised nearly $4,000 last year and already the team is on par towards raising that amount again.
Earlier this spring they boosted the team coffers by selling tickets on a $500 shopping spree at Foodland. Burns estimates that over the time he’s volunteered, he’s probably raised nearly $10,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“It’s so empowering to see all the people working together, everyone is all there for the same reason,” he said.
The Relay For Life is the Canadian Cancer’s Society’s largest annual fundraiser. It takes place in communities across Canada. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Relay For Life in Middleton, set for June 8.
This promises to be a record-setting year, according to Matheson. Already 43 teams have registered and $20,000 in pledges has already been confirmed, putting this year well ahead of last year.
For more information on the Relay For Life ad how to get involved, visit www.cancer.ca/novascotia