The Canadian Cancer Society hosted their annual Relay for Life event on Friday June 15th at the John Rhodes Community Centre. The nationwide event is meant to bring communities together to celebrate survivors, honour those who have been lost to cancer, and commit to raising funds to fight all types of cancer.
SaultOnline/ONNtv was proud to be a media sponsor for this year’s Relay for Life event, capturing heartfelt moments as families and friends gathered together to fight back against cancer and create cherished memories.
Superior Media had the opportunity to participate in this year’s relay for life, walking the track to support cancer survivors and honour those who have passed, as well as talk to some of the amazing event organizers, survivors, and volunteers that helped to make the event possible.
Chair person for Relay for Life Sault Ste. Marie, Judy Cruz, said this is a very important event in her family, as her mother is a cancer survivor of 19 years.
“Thankfully we’ve been able to walk with (my mother) in the survivor lap for the last 13 years that we’ve been involved,” she said.
She continued by talking about her mother’s first time walking at Relay for Life.
“I remember the first time I heard about relay, my mom said she was going and I was actually up in the John Rhodes restaurant after a hockey game and I said ‘oh, mom’s here,’ so I snuck a peek out the back window to see if there were people here and I thought ‘oh, my mother is there all by herself.’ So I tried to find her and I couldn’t, and from then on I vowed that I was going to be here with her for every relay. So it’s an important event for our family.”
Dan Giddens was one of the many people in a sea of yellow ‘Survivor’ t-shirts. Giddens said he started walking in Relay For Life to show his support long before his own cancer diagnosis five years ago.
“I wasn’t a survivor (when I started walking in Relay), I was just coming to support it, but then 5 years ago it touched me personally so now I’m here wearing the yellow shirt instead of the green one,” he said. “It feels good to be cancer-free, but the whole process here and what people do, that’s the whole thing here. Each year it’s emotional, to see people that care. Everybody’s touched – whether it be a family member, them-self, or a friend. Everybody’s touched by this.”
But it isn’t just amazing survivors that that walk the track. Volunteers have committed their time to make this event a truly community-driven experience.
Jason Hebert has been a volunteer for the Canadian Cancer Society for the past six years. He said he wanted to volunteer at Relay for Life to see and support all of the survivors, but also because he thinks it’s a good thing for the community of Sault Ste. Marie.
“Cancer is a hard thing, and I see every year that everyone comes out to support the Relay For Life and it’s a good cause for Sault Ste. Marie,” he said. “I like everything about this event – the BBQ, the survivor walk, and everything that Sault Ste. Marie does for the community.”
Some people took to the tracks as survivors, some for friends, others for family members who had been lost. Some people ran, some walked, some rolled in wheelchairs, in strollers, with walker, with crutches. Some people held hands, while others did laps in solace. But no matter age, gender, or walk of life, the Sault community came together to fight cancer.
In addition to the walk, the event consisted of live music and entertainment. One particularly special part of the evening which was new to Relay for Life was (as pictured above in photo seven of the gallery) the caregiver’s garden. This gave survivors the opportunity to decorate small coloured flowers with special messages to the people who have assisted them through their courageous battle with cancer.
For more information on the Canadian Cancer Society, visit them online.