By Jennifer Thurbide
It was big year for Red Lake’s Relay for Life which again this year set a fundraising record. With 21 teams and 231 participants walking and working through the night to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society (CCS) organizers announced at the Sunrise Ceremony on June 2nd $119,391.18 had been collected and banked for the cause.
The Red Lake event, along with similar ones held in Sioux Lookout and Dryden on the same night contributed more than a quarter million dollars to the CCS coffers. Over the weekend CKDR reported Sioux Lookout participants raised $98,647 along with Dryden’s $45,000 for a combined total of over $263,000 collected to eradicate cancer and patient support.
“I know you have been walking the track for the past 12 hours and you are tired but together we have accomplished so much and I would like to say congratulations,” remarked emcee Aundrea Shewchuk as the fundraising record was announced. “Thank you volunteers and committee members, without you this wouldn’t be possible and thank you to all of you for joining the fight by participating in the Canadian Cancer Society 2012 Relay for Life. We look forward to having you join us in 2013.”
The overnight event kicked off at 7 p.m. on June 1st with Shewchuk offering a welcome and reaching out to survivors dressed in yellow who lined the front row of the outdoor stage in Centennial Park. After speeches that included a rally call from one of the event sponsors ScotiaBank manager Melissa Holiday and Susan Plamondon from the Canadian Cancer Society, survivors took to the track for an honorary lap lead by pipers Bob and Sarah Grant and Matt Smith and a Legion Honour Guard. Throughout the night those in the park were treated to entertainment from local musicians, the chance to win prizes and purchase food from French fries to bagged taco salad. Activities for team members were also organized by committee member Mollie Isaac.
“I appreciate all the support of the committee, volunteers, participants and the community,” said organizing committee co-chair JoAnn Brownlee after the event. “It’s amazing what can be done when people come together and work together to support such a great cause. Seeing Centennial Park lit up with all the luminaries Friday night was incredible. Thank you!” Co-chair Barb Larkin also said this was the most money ever announced at the morning ceremony.
Each year awards to top fundraisers are presented Saturday morning and in 2012 For Family and Friends posted the most money raised with $13,480.35. Other gold level fundraising teams included Fishin’ for a Cure raising $11,162.49, and Sobey’s Sisters with $10,186. Earning a Silver honour was Rubicon Sharks with $9,295 and Goldcorp Cancer Crushers with $7,515.70. Earning a bronze was Hens and Chicks with $7,294 and Strolling Stones with $6,285.
Top individual fundraisers included Elayne Vinet with $6,545, Susanne Buskell with $2,860 and Angela Feigl with $2,765. Buskell also took one for the team shaving off her shoulder-length locks to be donated for the creation of wigs for cancer patients. Also cutting off their braids were Molly Munro and Carole Landry.
Brownlee says Saturday mornings total will continue to grow throughout the week as teams continue to turn in fundraising dollars. As of June 4th, the total had reached $122,264.
This year’s total now puts Red Lake’s contribution to the CCS through the relay event at around $666,000 in the past eight years. Organizers will meet later this month to wrap up 2012 and start planning for next year.