By Heather Killen
With a successful 10th year celebration now to its credit, the planning committee for Relay For Life in Middleton is already working on its next big night.
Brenda Burgess, district coordinator, says last year’s event not only marked the 10th anniversary for Middleton’s Relay, but raised over $200,000. During the last decade this local fundraiser has raised about $1.5 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.
“Last year’s anniversary exceeded everyone’s expectations,” she said. “Everyone worked so hard, this year we’re trying to give everyone a bit of a breather.”
While this year’s event is still months away, volunteers have started preparing. This year’s goals are to attract about 600 participants and raise $170,000 in donations. Burgess added that the planning committee is looking for volunteers interested in helping to organize teams, entertainment, food and beverage vendors, and various other aspects of the event.
Bob Bent Returns
While Bob Bent is returning to his former role as leadership chair, other longtime organizers are hoping to step back a bit and allow new faces to take over. Belle Grant-Fairn, long time team coordinator, says she’s hoping to recruit two enthusiastic volunteers to help her organize the teams and participants.
“So far we have eight teams registered online,” she said. “We’ve changed the rules a little, you don’t need to have 10 people in order to join. We won’t turn anyone away who wants to participate.”
In past years, teams of 10 or more people were eligible to register. Now, single people and smaller groups of even two, and three can register for the event. This opens up new opportunities for small businesses, families, best friends, and siblings to help the Canadian Cancer Society key fundraiser.
She added that while a lot of work goes into the event each year, it’s worth it for her whenever she walks to the podium on the night of the event to announce how much money has been raised.
“For me it’s watching the excitement build to the moment when I say, this is how much we raised,” she said. “And then, every time I hear that a researcher has been awarded a new grant, or another child has been sent to Camp Good Time, or someone has been helped by the Lodge That Gives, that’s when I know it was all worthwhile.”
Relay For Life is an overnight event in which teams of friends, family members, or co-workers collect pledges and then take turns walking or running around a track. Every year since 2002, participants have joined the event at Rotary Park to celebrate the lives of those who have overcome cancer; to remember lost loved ones; and empower people to fight back.
The event opens with the Survivors’ Victory Lap, where cancer survivors lead the way. Luminaries are lit to remember the loved ones who lost their lives to cancer during a ceremony at dusk.
The planning committee meets upstairs at town hall on the first Monday of the month 7 p.m., all are welcome to attend. For more information, or to register a team, visit www.relayforlife.ca.