This year’s Relay for Life will be taking place at Bud Miller Park on Friday, May 29 from at 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Saturday morning. The event, which raises money for cancer research, is still accepting registrations, donations and volunteers.
Melissa Gerwing, Relay for Life specialist with the Canadian Cancer Society, said there might be some new ideas involved with this year’s event.
“We’ve adopted the phrase ‘accept the baton,’ so we are urging all of our people to pass the baton along and become involved. We will be having a baton that will be involved this year and we do have some fresh ideas from previous years,” said Gerwing.
“When our teams register we ask that one person be on the track at all times, so if one team member gets tired, they pass the baton and another team member takes over and as long as one member is on the track we are set to go.”
Relay for Life will start with an opening ceremony featuring guest speaker and Lloydminster city Coun. Jason Whiting, then participants will take some time to honour cancer survivors before kicking off with the “survivor lap,” which is led by the RCMP. The survivor lap will see cancer survivors go around the course before the event officially begins.
At 10:30 p.m., there will be a luminary ceremony where people will light luminaries in honour of people who lost their battle with cancer.
“We do what we call a fight-back ceremony as well, where we celebrate with something healthy like a Zumba or maybe a little bit of dance lessons, just to show to keep physical and stay healthy and that’s how we help battle cancer and fight back against it,” said Gerwing. “Then we will have our closing ceremonies that usually start at 5:30 or 6 a.m. with team prizes for fundraisers, but most importantly thank all of our participants and supporters.”
Relay for Life was started in the mid-1980s by Dr. Gordy Klatt, a colorectal surgeon who wanted more funding for his American Cancer Society office in Tacoma, Wash. The event began as the City of Destiny Classic 24-hour Run Against Cancer. To personally raise money Dr. Klatt spent 24 hours circling the track at Baker Stadium in Tacoma, running a total of 83 miles.
“The first year, about 300 of his family, friends and patients just kind of hung out and watched while he ran and walked the course for 24 hours and he raised just over $27,000 the first year,” said Gerwing. “So in 1986, we call her the mother of relay, her name is Pat Flynn, she basically kind of got things started and 19 teams signed up. It was the first team relay for Relay for Life and they raised just over $33,000 and that’s kind of grew and now it’s a worldwide event.”
People who want to sign up as volunteers or participants can do so at relayforlife.ca/sk. Donations for giveaway prizes or silent auctions items can be dropped off at the Lloydminster office at 4910-50 St.