| Jun 13, 2013

Back after a one-year hiatus, the Flinton Relay For Life, which took place at the Flinton Rec Centre on June 7 and 8, proved that a blast of cold, wet weather could not dampen the spirits of the many dedicated organizers and participants who took part. The outdoor Flinton rink was the central site for the event and under it, hundreds of relay luminaries were lined up for the special 10 p.m. lighting ceremony. All night long 21 teams of relayers spent the night celebrating, remembering and fighting back as they lapped the rink’s perimeter to honor those who have been diagnosed, are in treatment for, or have succumbed to the disease.

Emceed by Robbie McLuckie and Bethany Lessard, the event opened with speeches by various organizers and dignitaries including Reeve Henry Hogg, North Frontenac Councilor Gerry Martin, Flinton Relay Chair Carolyn Hasler and Craig Faucette, manager with the Canadian Cancer Society of Frontenac Lennox and Addington.

Relay committee member Sue Tobia spoke about why so many relay and said, “Everyone has their own reason to be here and has likely known at least one person who has fought, perhaps lost but hopefully survived this horrible disease.” She stressed the main goal of the event: “We are here to celebrate the lives of those who have battled cancer; it is their strength that inspires us to continue to fight. We must also remember loved ones lost to the disease... and lastly we fight back against a disease that takes way too much from us.” She also poignantly reflected on how the event mirrors the events that a person with the disease experiences, from their initial diagnosis to their treatments and hopefully their recovery, and all of the emotional highs and lows that go along with such a diagnosis.

Craig Faucette said that it was his first time attending a Relay event in Flinton and he expressed his gratitude to the participants and organizers. “These community Relay events help to bring the entire community together and I am really amazed by how members of this community continue to put on such a great event. It's amazing to witness it in person.”

Seven-year breast cancer survivor Sherry Tebo was the event’s keynote speaker and she spoke at length about her personal experience after being diagnosed. Her speech focused not on the ordeal of treatments and surgeries, but instead on the positivity of those who help all cancer survivors to keep going. “Without the support of family, neighbors and friends, many of us survivors would not have had the success with this fight that we have had. I feel fortunate at having gone through this fight living here in Flinton and having such great encouragement from the folk in this community.” Following the speeches, 82 cancer survivors of all ages were joined by family and friends and walked the first lap. They were joined in the second by members of the 21 teams, many dressed to the nines and carrying flags and banners. Carolyn Hasler, who has been chairing the Flinton Relay since its inception in 2010, said the reason she keeps returning to head up the event is partly due to the fact that she is by nature a community volunteer but also someone who has had loved ones affected by the disease. “There needs to be a cure for cancer and we just need to help to find it and though it might not happen in my lifetime, I think that by holding these events, we are helping to do our part in that.”

In 2011 the Flinton Relay raised over $130,000. This year the goal is $70,000 and Hasler feels confident that that is a realistic goal. Countless talented artists from the community donated their gifts and time in a number of special presentations and performances that happened throughout the night.

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