Gail Lucier hasn’t personally had to battle cancer but she has numerous good reasons for supporting the annual Relay for Life taking place Saturday and Sunday in Boitanio Park.
“I became involved because my dad had skin cancer three years ago,” Lucier says.
She says the melanoma was on his nose and would start bleeding at the slightest touch.
The Canadian Cancer Society paid for his return flight from Bella Coola to Vancouver for treatment.
“He was nervous about flying and going to the big city so the Masons picked him up at the airport in Vancouver and took him to the cancer clinic,” Lucier says. It was total relief knowing he was being looked after.” After his treatment the Masons picked him up again and took him back to the airport to get him home to Bella Coola in time to celebrate his and her mother’s 55th wedding anniversary.
A few years ago she says her daughter also had uterine cancer. Doctors were able to burn off the cancer cells and she and her husband went on to have two boys right away.
Just over a year ago, she says a friend’s little boy was also diagnosed with an internal cancer at four months old.
“He had chemotherapy and radiation treatment at Children’s Hospital and is doing really well now. To see him today you would never know he had been sick. He’s just the sweetest little boy.” Lucier says.
She says there is also a lot of cancer in her husband’s family including one cousin who lost his battle with breast cancer.
“He had his left breast removed but within two years he passed away,” Lucier says. “It was tough because you don’t think of guys getting breast cancer. He thought it was just a lump but finally his wife told him to get in and get it checked.”
She said the doctor who did his surgery told the family that he had only seen two cases of men’s breast cancer in 22 years then all of a sudden around the same time he had four cases of men’s breast cancer.
Lucier and her husband Arnold have been involved with Relay for Life organizing for several years. The very first year they were involved she chaired the Luminary committee when there were 1,200 lights circling the Williams Lake secondary track in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer and in honour of the survivors.
“It is very emotional to see very old to very young people and people in wheelchairs, parents and grandparents with their lighted candles,” Lucier says. “Someday I would just like to walk around and see all of the lights in honour of survivors.”
To make that happen she is hoping that more people will come out and support Relay for Life this weekend with their donations and support.
She also hopes that more people will consider joining the Relay for Life organizing team in future years.
Over the years Lucier served as overall event coordinator, luminary chair, event day chair, participant and has served as president of the local cancer society for just over a year.
“If you are a good delegator it is really easy,” Lucier says.
Relay For Life takes place in Boitanio Park this weekend starting about 5 p.m. Saturday, June 2 and ending Sunday morning at 7 a.m. after breakfast. She says the Relay for Life is a 12-hour overnight event to give people who don’t have it a sense of what it is like to live with cancer. “The whole theme of Relay for Life is that cancer never sleeps,” Lucier says.
Gail Lucier is originally from Bella Coola, then moved to Vancouver where she worked at the main post office, married, had a daughter and was divorced.
She and her daughter moved to Williams Lake in 1981.
“I moved up here Stampede weekend with no apartment and no job on Stampede weekend in 1981,” Lucier says. “I wanted to start my daughter out in a school and community with more advantages than Bella Coola had growing up. It’s been good.”
Between them, Gail and Arnold have four grown children and eight grandchildren. Over the years they have been involved as volunteers with the Winter Lights and Stampede events, Restorative Justice, and Community Policing.
Gail also works full time as program assistant with the Fraser Basin Council and Invasive Plant Council.