Re-Building Relay For Life – Community organizers back in the driver’s seat


On Friday June 16th 2017 at the John Rhodes Community Centre, the Algoma Canadian Cancer Society will be operating Relay For Life using a model that puts community organizing committees back in the driver’s seat. Relay for Life is a fundraiser in which teams and individuals walk the track at the John Rhodes to celebrate, honour and remember cancer survivors and those who have lost their lives to the disease. Proceeds from the event will fund the most innovative and promising cancer research and local support programs in the Algoma region.

“Relay For Life will be coming up on its 17th year. In 2015 our direction was to create a provincially streamlined event in an attempt to deter local event fatigue and increase revenue,” said Lori McDonald, Community Fundraising Specialist for the Algoma Canadian Cancer Society.

“Our provincial office had a plan that seemed to mimic high profile events in southern Ontario that are incredibly successful. However, Sault Ste. Marie is a unique community that doesn’t fit that mold. Our participant numbers in 2016 dropped and we achieved roughly 60% of our revenue goals. This happened in other areas across the province as well.”

The event will remain a 6 hour event, as opposed to 12 hours. Local event analysis has shown that a high volume of event participants leave after 6 hours. Some things that will return include free registration for the Survivor’s Lap, one standard participant registration fee, a variety of live music (bands) and a DJ, luminaries for purchase to honour and/or remember loved ones, and everyone from the community is welcome to attend the event.

“The Relay For Life planning committee is really excited about 2017. The event is so much more to people than just a fundraising walk for cancer research – It’s a chance to celebrate cancer survivors and honour and remember the people in our lives who have succumbed to the disease. It’s an event that eliminates the feeling of being alone whether you are facing cancer, or are providing care for a cancer patient. Relay For Life recognizes what people touched by cancer have gone through and honours and celebrates them. Our community standing united in the fight against cancer is at the heart of Relay For Life, and we plan to bring that to the forefront of the 2017 Relay,” McDonald explains.

The theme for the 2017 Relay For Life is ‘Building a Better Future’ and there will be a lot of Legos and other building blocks as a part of the décor at Relay. “This theme is perfect this year as the Canadian Cancer Society’s commitment to funding the most innovative and promising cancer research will never waiver; ultimately building a better future for cancer researchers and patients. The Algoma Relay For Life will build itself back up to make our survivors, participants, and donors the focus of the 2017 event.”


  1. Your darn right surviving cancer and chemo and daily radiation calls for celebration. It doesn’t call for a $50.00 registration though as we’ve been through enough.

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