The Canadian Cancer Society Relay for Life is taking place at Boitanio Park this weekend.
An emotional event founded on the concept representing an individual’s battle with cancer, the relay will kick off at Boitanio Park at 1 p.m. Saturday, with opening remarks by Mayor Kerry Cook.
In addition to the Celebrate, Remember and Fight Back ceremonies, the 12-hour relay will be full of entertainment and activities.
The relay will begin by celebrating survivors, with the Williams Lake Pipe Band leading the survivors’ victory lap at 1:15 p.m., and then the track will be open to the teams and individuals.
By walking through the night and finishing in the early morning, relay participants follow the cancer patient through the darkest hours of their treatment and then the breakthrough at the end whether it be survival or being released from the struggle.
“Most relays have been modified from the original structure, but we still focus on the following three areas: Celebrating survivors, Remembering those who are currently undergoing treatment or those we’ve lost, and finding ways to Fight Back so that eventually cancer won’t affect so many lives,” says event organizer Michelle McKinnon.
Survivors receive a yellow T-shirt and participate for free. There will be a special survivor reception at noon, complete with refreshments and snacks donated by local businesses. During the reception, survivors can register to participate in the survivors’ victory lap.
The theme this year is summertime — neon! There will be two walking track options at the park this year, depending on each walker’s personal preference and ability.
This year individual participants are also being encouraged to walk around the track alongside the teams.
“We are encouraging those who didn’t have a chance to join a relay team to come on down to Boitanio Park and make a $20 donation to register individually to walk around the track, for as little or as along as they like, any time of the day.”
This year the Fight Back Ceremony will take place in the late afternoon.
“During the ceremony, we’ll encourage everyone in attendance to write down their one action or change that they will make in order to fight back against cancer,” McKinnon says.
“We’ll then encourage everyone to take a “selfie” with their one action or change and ask them to share their selfie with their friends via social media.
“We have lots of great activities and entertainers lined up throughout the 12 hours, offering a range of musical styles from our local community favourites.”
Activities throughout the day include a Zumba class by Concrete Fitness, temporary tattoos by Dean Allan, and henna hand designs.
There will also be a wide variety of kids’ activities until 4:30 p.m., with the Williams Lake Stampede princesses assisting with face painting.
Local entertainers playing throughout the day include Oren Barter, DJS1X, Rachel Walker, Angel Keys, the Williams Lake Community Band, Shaun Hunjen, Just For Fun Choir, Lucier Family, and Beautifully Haunting.
Food will be available at the team tents and in the covered picnic area and will include the Dreamboat Café, sandwiches, baked goods, chai tea and pakoras.
The Luminary Ceremony will start shortly after 11 p.m., with the luminaries being lit around the track.
Participants will have an opportunity to share the names of family and friends they wish to remember and light a candle in their honour.
The night will wrap up with some upbeat music by local DJ Lynden Grosso (DJS1X). Then at 12:45 a.m. there will be some closing remarks, and the festivities finish at 1 am.
People who are unable to attend can still make a donation through the Relay For Life website at www.relayforlife.ca/williamslake. If you would like more information, please call Michelle McKinnon at 250-398-7887 or the local Cancer Office at 250-392-3442.