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Relay for life promises “an amazing journey”

March 26, 2016   ·   0 Comments

Dufferin Relay for Life is organizing its sixth annual 12 noon to 12 midnight June relay, at the Orangeville Agricultural Fair Grounds, to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.

Terry Doel, Dufferin relay team coordinator has been a part of the event in many aspects since the first year in 2010.

He calls it “an amazing and emotional journey.”

According to the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS), the first Relay for Life event in Canada was held in 1999 and raised $85,000.

Now, 17 years later, Relay for Life has raised over $496.5 million for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“These funds are used to support Canada’s most promising cancer research and vital support services for people with cancer and their families,” says the Society.

According to Mr. Doel, there are “upwards of 400 people participating in teams raising funds” at the annual Dufferin relay.

There are many volunteers and usually about 100 survivors and their caregivers.

Following an open house earlier in the month, the event now has 12 teams signed up to participate so far.

“[This] is terrific based on previous years,” says Doel. “There will still be lots more joining us. We already have survivors signed up as well.”

Mr. Doel says the 2016 Dufferin relay event will start with a complimentary brunch for local survivors.

The survivors will initiate the relay by walking the first lap alone and then walk the second lap with their caregivers.

“All of the fundraising teams then join them, and they are on the track for the next 12 hours,” says the coordinator.

The day is filled “with shared stories, tears, laughs, games, food, family and friends,” says Mr. Doel.

A luminary ceremony, where the luminaries, a fire retardant bag with a candle, are purchased “in memory of loved ones that have both fought and won and those who have fought and lost their cancer battles”; the luminaries light the track for the night, he says, “as we walk and reflect on our memories.”

The teams raise money in the community from now until the day of the event through dances, garage sales, bottle drives and many other creative outlets, the coordinator says, adding “I’m always surprised at their creativity in fundraising.

“Our relay committee members even have several teams. We all do our part.”

“Every relay is special, but my strongest memories are of the very first relay I attended,” says Doel. “It was an earth moving emotional experience and I wouldn’t give it up ever. I just happened to be there volunteering not really knowing what is was about. When those survivors came walking over the hill to the track in their yellow shirts all shapes, sizes and ages I knew I needed to play a bigger role in making this event a success.”


To donate, contact Dufferin Relay for Life by phone 519-939-3663 or email Donators can also go directly to the Canadian Cancer Society Dufferin.

By Marni Walsh



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