It was 2005 when Kristi Hamar first participated in Relay For Life, along with her basketball team the B-ball Babes.
“It was a fun event, very entertaining, and so great to feel that we were working together for a fantastic cause,” Hamar reminisced.
“And then, the volunteers lit the luminaries up on the hill — spelling out the words Cure and Hope.
“It really hit home … the serious purpose behind the event.”
A few years later Relay came back into Hamar’s life when her co-worker and close friend needed a helping hand on the organizing committee.
“She was passionate about the cause because she knew quite a few people touched by cancer, so I jumped on board to support her.”
The event quickly became even more personal when one of her students was diagnosed with leukemia.
Nick Paul was in her Grade 6/7 class at Sxoxomic Community School in Alkali Lake, and Kristi saw first hand the devastating effects of cancer on a family and a community.
“It’s a small, close-knit group, and it was very tough on the whole community,” she said.
“That was my motivation to keep going — I wanted to make sure we were doing our part.”
Sadly, Nick Paul passed away in 2012, just a month before the Relay For Life. His family and friends, the “Standing Strong” team were a solid presence at the event.
“They carried a picture of Nick, and during the luminary lap, they put all their candles in front of the picture, and everyone who passed by added theirs. They were there all night long, walking the track in memory of Nick.”
Last year’s event raised $37,000 and involved 119 participants. This year, Kristi stepped into the role of Leadership Chair to make sure the Relay continues.
“Looking for a cure is high on my priority list,” she said.
“I see so many families touched by cancer, and we need to all get involved to support each other and keep looking for the cure.”
Relay For Life is an inspirational, non-competitive, 12 to 24 hour fundraising event that brings a community together to celebrate life and fight cancer.
“We are reaching out to ask the community if they are interested in volunteering on the organizing committee,” says Hamar.
“We have a wide variety of roles that can suit everyone’s background. Volunteering for Relay has really enhanced my team building skills, and my organizational ability. I’ve also learned a tremendous amount about the services that are provided by the Canadian Cancer Society.”
This year’s relay will be held on June 8-9 in Boitanio Park. This year’s theme: “Relay’s Rockin’ Through the Ages”.
If you’d like to get involved visit www.relaybc.ca or e-mail WilliamsLakeRelay@bc.cancer.ca.
Teams can also pick up team packages at the Williams Lake Cancer office.
There is also a Facebook page titled “2013 Williams Lake Relay for Life.” Join the group for updates.