| May 03, 2007

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Feature Article - May 3, 2007

Relay for Life

byMike Procter

On April 12, 1980, Terry Fox dipped his leg into the Atlantic Ocean at St. John’s, Newfoundland as he began his world famous Marathon of Hope. His plan to run across Canada was cut short 143 days later, after completing about half of the distance, when he was forced to abandon his quest. In a recent public opinion poll, Terry was voted the most famous Canadian of the 20th century and was voted number 2 on The Greatest Canadian list. Today Terry Fox is an inspiration to people around the world who annually celebrate his courage and determination to overcome cancer.


On June 1, hundreds of people from North and Central Frontenac and summer visitors from all over will spend a night in Parham to continue that same spirit of determination and hope that Terry began. Relay For Life raises money to aid in research, client services and education to help people live with cancer and eventually to find a cure. The non-competitive relay begins at 7pm with the Victory Lap - cancer survivors of all ages make the first lap of the track while being cheered on by their friends and neighbours. The Relay goes on rain or shine. At one recent Relay For Life a survivor walked the Victory Lap through the rain undaunted, saying, “Rain??? I’ve been through chemo - this is nothing.”

Throughout the night, team members take turns walking the track. At dusk, the luminaries, candles placed in special bags that are inscribed with a name or message to a loved one, are placed around the track and lit. They burn throughout the night, lighting the way for the walkers and providing inspiration to everyone. During laps, walkers often pause at the luminary of a loved one to remember, to pray and to cheer. Throughout the night there is continuous entertainment; singing, dancing, karaoke - after all, this is a celebration. Complimentary food is provided through the evening and a sunrise breakfast will be provided. Survivors who may feel they are too emotional to take part in the Victory Lap can simply come and watch or show up to see the lighting of the luminaries.

When organizers first considered having a Relay For Life in the area, they anticipated 15 teams would participate - to date, 31 teams are set to attend. This will truly be an event that Terry Fox would be proud of.

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