KENTVILLE, NS - It’s a time to remember and honour those who lost the fight and a time to celebrate and help inspire those who have survived the disease or are still battling cancer.
The 12th annual Canadian Cancer Society Kentville Relay for Life was held at Memorial Park on June 9. At least one member from each participating team has to be on the track at any given time, helping to illustrate that no one with cancer has to face the fight alone.
Kentville Relay for Life ambassador Roxanne Poole has taken part of the Kentville event every year since it began. She said Relay is one of the biggest fundraising initiatives of the Canadian Cancer Society. She knows first-hand how much the society does to help those faced with cancer.
Poole lost her mother to bowel cancer 25 years ago and this experience inspired her to get involved helping the society. Then, 15 years ago, Poole was diagnosed with breast cancer. The same year, her brother-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer.
Poole was cancer free for 14 years but is now involved in another battle against breast cancer. She finished her chemo treatments on May 11 and still has 17 radiation treatments to go.
Poole said she is happy to be alive and happy to be a part of Relay for Life. It means a lot to her to see so many people giving their time and effort to the cause. She said the love and support for survivors, for those still involved in the fight and for those who lost the battle is evident at the event.
“I’m trying to be proactive because, really, that’s what it’s about. Keep up the energy, keep up the good spirits, because that’s what’s going to get you through a lot of it in all honesty,” Poole said.
She hopes that people attending Relay for Life who may not have been directly affected by cancer will look around and see the all the survivors moving forward and that this will instill a sense that there is still hope after a cancer diagnosis.
Poole maintains steadfast hope that all of the fundraising efforts are going to lead to a significant breakthrough in research, hopefully sooner than later, so that humanity won’t have to deal with cancer in the future.
Kentville Relay for Life leadership chairwoman Bonnie Klein, who has been free of breast cancer for 12 years, said the event means a lot to survivors such as herself. She points out that “cancer has touched everybody.” Klein said that when it comes to her and her six sisters, three have passed away from cancer and only one hasn’t been directly affected.
She finds the event to be very inspiring, having attended in Kentville every year since the event’s inception. There were some participants who underwent surgery as little as one month ago. She said the event is a time to remember those who lost their lives to cancer and a time for hope for those currently battling the disease and those who have survived it.
“I hope that the survivors feel that they’re special, because they certainly are, and I’m hoping that they have a sense of hope too because some of them are still fighting the battle or they know somebody who is fighting the battle within their own family,” Klein said.
She said it’s incredibly important from a fundraising perspective for people to continue supporting the event. The money helps support the Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtime for children fighting cancer. It also helps support the society’s Lodge That Gives in Halifax, a facility providing free lodging for people undergoing cancer treatments, as well as research initiatives.
The fundraising goal for the 12th annual Kentville Relay for Life was $60,000, which was surpassed by a significant margin. The tally as of June 10 was $69,796 with more money still to come in.
The top fundraising teams this year were Jim Lamb’s Babes and Boars with $13,780.36 and Pastor Tim’s Team with $12,599.60.
Klein said they had 13 teams registered this year, or about 200 individuals participating. She said participation is down at Relay events across the board, so an effort must be made to put the word out and draw teams back.
To put it into perspective, the tenth anniversary relay in Kentville two years ago drew 37 teams, which Klein said was “absolutely wonderful.”
For more information on the Canadian Cancer Society or to make an online donation, visit www.cancer.ca.