It’s been 14 years since the first Relay for Life took place in Prince Albert and since that first event Prince Albert’s commitment to this cause has continued to grow.
That commitment was proven recently when Prince Albert residents selected Relay for Life as Best Fundraising Event and Best Community Event.
Relay for Life is an annual event that allows communities to celebrate cancer survivors, honour and remember loved ones, and fight back against cancer. This year, that fight with the help of 57 registered teams in Prince Albert, managed to raise approximately $215,000 for the cause.
“It is nice to be recognized by the community for this event,” said Charlene Bernard, manager of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Prince Albert Chapter.
“We have a lot of volunteers that work really hard to put it together and a lot of teams and participants that take part in it so it’s great to have it recognized as a great event by all those people.”
Fundraising amounts for Relay for Life in Prince Albert go up and down each year. However, Bernard said they usually manage to raise at least $200,000 every year.
“Lots of teams get really, really into it they fundraise all year long,” she said. “But it’s more than just a fundraiser it is all sorts of things combined and it can be quite emotional as well but healing for some people and empowering for others.”
Val Nicholson and her team, the Studs and Peelers, have been participating in Prince Albert’s Relay for Life event since it began in 2000.
“Everyone on the team has been affected by cancer,” said Nicholson. “In fact, one member of our team is now a survivor of cancer.”
This year, the Studs and Peelers managed to raise just over $7,000. Next year will mark a very important milestone for the team, which, over the last 14 years, have managed to raise a total of $94,400 for Relay for Life.
“Next year we will in fact reach the $100, 000 mark,” said Nicholson.
But Relay for Life is not just a fundraising event -- it is a community event.
“It is important for people to come together as a community to rally behind this cause,” said Lyle Karasiuk, volunteer event chair for Relay For Life. “Each year, we are so very blessed by the number of teams that come out to support us.”
Karasiuk said this year alone there were more than 650 participants and more than 250 volunteers that came out for the event.
“People think that it (Relay for Life) just supports research, but that is only one small component -- it supports education, advocacy, and admission delivery and we are so thankful that people in the community continue to support us.”
One thing that was noticed this year at the Relay for Life was the amount of support there was from the younger people in the community.
“Our top team this year was the PACI (Prince Albert Collegiate Institute) students who raised over $9,000,” said Karasiuk.
Nicholson said there were a number of schools involved. “It was really great to see the mix of long time folks like the Studs and Peelers and new teams with young people all kind of working together towards a common goal.”
Funds raised at Relay for Life in Prince Albert stay within the province and are put towards cancer research and various support and education programs.
“Everybody knows about the research end but it (funds raised at Relay For Life) also play a big part in our support for people who are going through cancer and their families,” said Bernard.
Next year’s Relay for Life event in Prince Albert will take place on June 5.
To learn how to get involved with Relay for Life click here.
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