Estevan's Relay for Life project received another significant boost Saturday with a Relay for Life party in the Estevan Shoppers Mall complete with live music, speeches and various activities.
Relay for Life teams hawked everything from shirts to cupcakes to raise money to fight cancer while Crossroads, a popular five-piece band, provided an exciting musical backup.
Hayley Dayman, relay co-ordinator for this year's event, hosted a brief welcoming program that included Brent Olfert of Apex, a cancer survivor himself, who outlined reasons why the company he is employed by made a decision to be a major corporate sponsor this year.
“It's a company that likes to get involved in the community and our customers appreciate it too. Cancer makes you reflect on life and you know that it will affect you or your family sometime in your life,” he said.
Olfert later said he has been free of cancer since July of last year when he had a clean check-up.
Cancer survivor, Marilyn Coates, who is the relay's honourary co-chair, provided advice on keeping vigilant, undergoing regular checkups and physical examinations. She noted that cancers such as melanoma may not surface for 20 or 30 years after exposure and once it attacks vital organs, it can be difficult to defeat.
Margaret Hill, office manager for the southeast sector of the Canadian Cancer Society, noted how cancer affects everyone at one time or another, so it was important to provide information as well as support for victims and their families.
Hill pointed out that the society can even provide basic financial assistance for victims who require that type of help in the form of funds for transportation, caregivers or volunteer drivers. They're also a client advocate, who provides caring kits and peer review systems. She noted that last year's peer review project had to be curtailed when funding ran out, so the need to keep up the fundraising activities was more important than ever.
A healthy lifestyles program is also advocated by the society and she said, 97 per cent of the funds raised in Saskatchewan get to stay in the province. She said she was promoting the power of yellow, blue and white, noting that yellow is the colour found on the shirts of survivors who are involved in the Relay for Life while blue represents the caregivers and volunteers and white designates the participants in the relay who believe in the cause.
Last year's Relay for Life raised a total of $135,439.42 in Estevan alone where there were 24 teams of walkers who were supported by 150 volunteers with 114 survivors on hand. Hill said 798 luminaries were sold in Estevan last year.
Patrick Fisher, leadership chairman for the volunteer committee, extended his thank you to the participants and supporters. “I saw the dedication and passion that the people had when I worked just a little bit as a volunteer last year, so when they approached me to see if I would take on a bigger role this year, I couldn't say no,” he said.
This year's Relay for Life will be staged Saturday, June 9 into the morning of June 10.