Relay for Life organizers understand the power of hope when it comes to the fight against cancer.
This year, the local Survivor Committee is strategizing ways to get more people involved in Relay for Life who have faced the disease head-on and lived through it. The more survivors sharing stories and taking to the track for the relay's opening survivors' lap the greater the proof that cancer can be beaten, said head organizer Tamsyn Morote during the Relay for Life kick-off event at Brennan Park on Saturday (Feb. 7).
"The great thing is that the survivors can help support others and also for the participants to see what they're doing is making a difference," she said.
"When you've got 200 survivors there, as a participant you go 'wow it's making a difference.'"
The committee is coming up with more ways for survivors to get to know each other. Since a lack of connections may be preventing some survivors from taking part, the committee is putting together a tea reception for a date yet to be determined prior to the relay, said committee member Lail Weeks.
"It's just to bring the support into the community and there are a lot of survivors who don't know who the other survivors are," she said.
"Maybe there are people who would like to come to the relay but maybe are daunted by the fact that it's this great big event and they don't know anybody. This is for people to touch base prior to the relay. We want lots of survivors to come."
As for the event itself, committee members are thinking of ways the survivors can interact more with the relay teams.
Last year, more than 60 survivors walked the survivor lap with a long chain, each link representing a year of life after cancer for a survivor. Meanwhile, 40 teams marched beneath the stars at Brennan Park and raised $120,000 for the Canadian Cancer Society. Morote is setting the bar even higher by marking a target of $130,000 for this year's Relay for Life, which takes place June 5 and 6.
Those who didn't get a chance to register at last weekend's kick-off event can still qualify for the early bird registration price of $25 until Feb. 28. The cost will then increase to $35. Registration is available at www.cancer.ca/relay.
For more information about survivor initiatives contact Weeks at 604-898-5595.