Relay For Life walkers brave the elements to support the cause

Despite uncooperative weather, the annual fundraiser raised nearly $30,000 for cancer research.

Even with thunderstorm warnings, this year’s Relay For Life was a success, say organizers.

Jenn Smith, Community Giving Coordinator with the Canadian Cancer Society, said that although the weather wasn’t cooperating at Saturday’s 15th annual Relay For Life, teams still managed to walk and raise nearly $30,000 for cancer research.

“Right now, we are sitting at $28,809.86,” she said. “We had 14 teams out there and all but one had tents set up. So it was a great turnout as far as our participants and teams go. The weather was the bad part.”

With the rain and lightning looming overhead, some events had to be moved up to make sure everyone could participate.

“The rain held off for a bit, and everyone got to the park, but when the thunder and lightning warnings came, that cleared some people out,” she said, adding that the Luminary Ceremony, a chance for friends and family to remember those who have been lost to cancer, didn’t go quite as planned. “We didn’t get to do the full ceremony and we were really sad about that. But, we checked with the teams and we put the luminaries out early. That way, anyone could walk along and remembers before the weather came to a head. We were happy that we could do at least that for everyone. We kept the luminaries out until the end at 10 p.m.”

The annual fundraiser has been getting smaller over its last 15 years in Trail, but Smith says the people who come out to fundraise, or just support the relayers, are invaluable to the cause.

“We were really excited to see how many people we had out, but of course, we would like to see more,” she said. “But, the people who showed were the ones who wanted and needed it to work out. We had some new teams, so there were some new faces this year, and overall, we were happy.”

Next year’s Relay For Life is already in the works, just days after Saturday’s event.

“We already have a new theme picked out for next year,” said Smith, adding that she hopes to see the event slowly grow over the next few years. “It is still being tweaked, so I don’t know if organizers want to reveal it quite yet. We are working on it right now. We are always looking forward to getting people to volunteer with us and give us new ideas to keep it exciting for the community.”