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Relay for Life returning to Oshawa

Cancer Society fundraiser taking place at Maxwell Heights

By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express

The battle against cancer continues as Relay for Life returns on the weekend.

Taking place on June 8 at Maxwell Heights Secondary School, Relay for Life is a community, family-focused event where participants raise funds for cancer research and research purposes for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“The event is a really fun event with lots of activities and fun things for everybody to do,” says Arlene Godby, the community fundraising specialist for the Canadian Cancer Society in Durham and Peterborough.

According to Godby, Relay for Life began in 1999, and $85,000 was raised at the first event.

Since then, Relay for Life has raised over $500 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

During Relay for Life, participants walk the track, and take part in team activities and team theme laps.

The survivor victory lap begins at 5 p.m., and Godby says this is done to honour those participants who have fought cancer, and survived it.

Godby believes this is the most “impactful part of the night.”

The survivors will be wearing yellow as they make their way around the track, and Godby believes for other participants, this is a good opportunity to show their support.

This year, organizers are hoping to raise $30,000, a slight increase from last year’s total of $29,217.

“There were 17 teams that were registered [in 2018], and this year we are hoping to raise $30,000, and we already have 19 teams registered, so we’re really excited about that,” she says.

“One of the things about Relay for Life, is that we know that one in two Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and so it’s more important than ever now that we get the community involved so that they can raise funds for research, programs and services to help those people,” explains Godby.

According to Godby, the featured hashtag for this year’s event is #communityisbiggerthancancer, because the organization feels the community can come together and make a difference in the lives of people with cancer.

The event will conclude with the luminary ceremony at 10 p.m., when the track is lit up with luminary bags, and participants honour those who have been lost to cancer.

“The luminary bags are decorated…the participants decorate them themselves, and we put a t-light inside of them, and when they line the entire track of Maxwell Heights, it’s just beautiful,” says Godby, noting this is one part of the night which she especially looks forward to.

Other activities include music, fundraising awards and more.

Those who are attending should check the weather forecast beforehand as this is a “rain or shine event.”