The Canadian Cancer Society has provided its reasons for cancelling the Salmon Arm Relay for Life.
Susan Fekete, communications manager for the society, writes in an email that large scale events are too costly.
“Over the last several years, our organization has taken action to develop long-term sustainable solutions to address the growing demand for the work we do. Our efforts have been focused on reducing operating and fundraising costs so that more of the money that is donated goes to our programs, support services and research.
“While we recognize the community’s incredible efforts, after much consideration, we’ve made the difficult but necessary business decision to discontinue Relay For Life in Salmon Arm.
“In the coming months we will be consulting with the community to better understand how local philanthropic goals can be met without incurring the significant costs of hosting Relay For Life and will reach out to our volunteers and supporters when we have more information to share.
“On behalf of CCS, we apologize if this decision has left the community feeling disappointed and please know that your efforts have not gone unnoticed or unappreciated.”
After being fixture in Salmon Arm since 2003, the Canadian Cancer Society will not hold a Relay for Life event in the city this year.
Brenda Kurtz, who has volunteered with the relay since its inception, said organizers were informed it won’t be happening.
“That’s just the word we were given, it wasn’t our decision,” she said.
“I think what they’ve done is eliminated several of them and are concentrating on just a few in the province. Ours was the last one in this area.”
She said Jen Dies, who was manager of the society’s Salmon Arm branch, is no longer there.
Kurtz said although the relay won’t take place, former committee members still want to hold a Luminary Walk.
She has written to city council to ask permission to hold the walk at Marine Park on June 8.
“We want to still recognize our survivors and caregivers and offer the opportunity for individuals to honour their loved ones by buying luminaries and lighting them on that evening,” she wrote.
Kurtz cautioned organizers won’t be proceeding with plans for the Luminary Walk this year until they’re sure they have all the necessary approvals.
Asked if she was okay with not having a relay, Kurtz was forthright.
“No, I’ll be honest. I wish we were still able to do it. But we could see a decline every year.”
Since its start in 2003, the Salmon Arm Relay for Life raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The 2018 event at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds attracted more than 200 participants who attended to support cancer survivors, remember those lost to cancer and assist research towards a cure.
It raised more than $79,000. A spokesperson for the Canadian Cancer Society could not be reached before press time.