The Relay for Life opening ceremonies at Haley Field.

The Relay for Life opening ceremonies at Haley Field.

Relay for Life – The funds in the sun

Annual fundraiser for cancer research raises over $50,000 in 12 hours at Trail event.

Blues skies supported participants’ spirits at this year’s Relay for Life.

The 12-hour event on Saturday in Warfield’s Haley Park was jam packed with entertainment, raising awareness and funds to help fight cancer, as 23 teams pulled together for a total of $56,881.

It was a “fantastic turnout and awesome weather,” said Suzzane Belanger, Relay’s volunteer event chair.

The balmy weather pattern created a positive stir for the opening ceremonies, with Nina Amelio singing O Canada to start the day’s festivities.

That was followed by an aerobic warm up as well as a Zumba class, paving the way for a motivating Survivor Victory Lap honouring several cancer survivors.

Throughout the day various vocalists and performers took the stage set up in the park and provided an entertaining musical score. For children there were plenty of organized activities, arts and crafts located at the Kid’s Zone. In the afternoon there were hair cutting donations as well as a relaxation station run by Jane Theriaelt.

“The closer I get to the park the more I feel the buoyant energy,” said Theriaelt, who shared her feelings as to why she became involved.

As the day wore on the positive energy continued with the Fight Back Ceremony, representing the Neil Paolone Spirit of Relay Award. This award is annually received by a deserving cancer survivor and was presented this year to not just one deserving person, but to all the 2012 survivors.

Subsequent awards were given to individuals or teams for best site, best team banner as well as best costume.

In the evening when darkness began to fall over Haley Park preparations for the Luminary Ceremony began, as the lights of 373 luminary bags sparked up around the track. Every flame represents a loved one touched by cancer, in honour or in memory.

After a moving live performance by Laela Hiedt, participants made their way around the track for a luminary lap.

“It’s great to be able to make a difference,” said Belanger who added that she enjoyed seeing everyone in the community come together.

However, cancer doesn’t take a break and the event is now going throughout the year. If you would like to be kept up to date, “like” Greater Trail Relay for Life on Facebook or contact Suzzane Belanger at 250-231-2287.