The bad news is there are seven fewer teams entered in this year’s Relay for Life fundraiser, which steps out at 7 p.m. Saturday, June 14.
The good news is funds raised so far this year are close to what they were last year, says Jen Dies, Canadian Cancer Society co-ordinator of community giving.
As of last Thursday, 26 teams had registered for the 12-hour event, down seven from last year, particularly among the youth teams.
“If we hit our target of $150,000, I will shave my head right there on the stage at the closing ceremonies when we announce our totals,” says Dies. “It’s my way of showing I am in it 100 per cent. We’ve done it before (reached the target) but we’re down in teams and I just wanted to stir the pot a little bit.”
Dies is grateful to her hard-working team of volunteers and fantastic sponsors.
“Since last year, our sponsorship dollars have increased,” she says. “It’s the incredible support we get at the community level, from $250 all the way up to $5,000. It’s amazing.”
As well, Dies says teams who have come onboard again have done so with great enthusiasm for this year’s Disney-based theme – Banishing Cancer to Never Neverland.
SASCU Team members are dressing up as characters from Monsters Inc, Save-On from Despicable Me and the Askew’s team will be the Peter Pan Pixies.
“There’s Toy Story, and Tinkerbell is coming,” says Dies with enthusiasm. “Everyone has jumped onboard.”
And there is still plenty of time to pull a team together and register at the Canadian Cancer Society website at www.relayforlife.ca or by calling 250-833-4085.
Those who are unable to participate in the 12-hour walk are encouraged to attend for the Survivor’s Lap during the opening ceremony, or to place luminaries in honour or memory of someone along the track from 9 to 10 p.m.
Luminary bags are available at the Canadian Cancer Society office on Lakeshore and from cashiers at the Downtown Askew’s.
Take them home to decorate them as you like, decorate them at the Relay or let Cancer Society volunteers decorate them.
For every luminary purchased, donors are asked to provide a canned food item, which will be used as anchors during the relay. On Sunday morning the food will be gathered up and taken to the Salvation Army Food Bank.
Dies says businesses and individuals are invited to buy enough luminaries to create words, such as hope, live, cure, courage, etc. at $5 a bag.
“This would be great if a business wants to be involved in a smaller way and it would help to have luminaries all around the track,” Dies says.
Donations can also be made online or by supporting a team.
Starting at 5:30 p.m. on the night of the Relay for Life, survivors and caregivers are invited to park cars at the Salmon Arm Curling Club and take advantage of the bus donated by the Shuswap Kids’ Club to get a ride to Elks Park.
Dies, who began by organizing the Salmon Arm Relay for Life six years ago, has been organizing multiple events for the past two years. This year, she is organizing five events – in Merritt, Revelstoke, 100 Mile House, Kamloops and Salmon Arm
A lovely framed, embossed daffodil hangs on the wall of her office, a staff award of excellence given to her by the Canadian Cancer Society in recognition of her “outstanding achievement in the fight against cancer.”