The yellow daffodil will be in full bloom this Saturday, as Greater Trail cancer survivors and supportive residents turn their fight for hope into action.
The 13th annual Greater Trail Relay for Life has been moved from the traditional Haley Park location to Gyro Park to freshen up the event with a new location that provides a beautiful backdrop, said Stacey Cassidy, Trail coordinator of community giving.
The 12-hour non-competitive relay kicks off at 10 a.m. with a survivor’s victory lap, ending with a touching luminary ceremony in honour of those battling cancer or in memory of those who have lost their fight. Live entertainment from local talent – including Steps Dance, the Golden City Fiddlers, Tim Bourchier, Tony Ferraro and Jason Thomas – is scheduled for the full day.
“Until a person goes you really can’t totally describe the amount of inspiration, camaraderie and community that you feel at the event but it’s different from your typical walk in that it’s not about the distance you go,” explained Cassidy. “The whole 12 hours is meant to mirror a cancer journey in that we have our survivor’s victory lap, where everyone is rallying around you at the beginning, and then as the day goes on it’s long and it gets tough.”
Teams of up to 15 people will have already fundraised through bake sales, car washes, head shaves or just by collecting pledges prior to the event. They’ll take turns walking, running or rolling around the designated “track.”
The event wouldn’t be possible without volunteers like Rhonda van Tent, who acts as relay volunteer leadership chair.
“I have lost almost all of my family of my parent’s generation (to cancer) . . . I have also lost people too young to be taken that it felt criminal,” said the Fruitvale resident.
“I relay to raise awareness and funding for the fight against cancer,” she said. “Due to advances in detection and treatment, both myself and my husband, Al Regnier, are survivors.”
Donations to Relay for Life make it possible for the Canadian Cancer Society to invest in cancer research, lead crucial cancer prevention initiatives and deliver caring practical and personal support to people living with cancer.
“Cancer connection” matches an individual with a volunteer who has lived through a similar cancer experience, including the type of cancer and the course of treatment.
Among many services there is an online information and support community, as well as cancer information services (1-888-939-3333) and a wig room.
There is still time to sign up as a participant or volunteer for Saturday’s event by dropping into the Trail office (908 Rossland Ave.), calling van Tent at 250-231-7575 or by visiting www.relaybc.ca