The 2018 Relay for Life hit the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds June 9, with over 200 participants attending the event to support cancer survivors, remember those lost to the disease and assist research towards a cure.
The 16th annual Relay for Life in Salmon Arm raised $79,195 in total thanks to the hard work of fundraisers and the generosity of the community.
The relay kicked off at 7 p.m. and began with a survivors’ victory lap where cancer survivors were joined by their caregivers in a lap of the track.
Val Dean, one of the speakers at the event, said “survivors are the heart and soul of Relay for Life. We each have our own reasons for being here, this is what hope looks like.”
Gwen Wall of the Cancer Kicking Chemo Crew, a team of nurses from the oncology department at Shuswap Lake General Hospital, said “it’s our honour and our pleasure to be here, you’ll find this town is very generous and I think this really shows that.”
Fellow teammate Iris Pearson said she was amazed at the grace and resilience of their patients, adding she and fellow nurses get their strength from the patients they work so closely with during their treatment.
The event featured some live entertainment for participants walking late into the night, including music from the Jukebox Band and Patrick Halligan, with some late-night Elvis Presley impersonations.
At 9:30 p.m., as the sun was falling low, participants gathered for the luminary ceremony, where candles were lit around the track to honour the memory of someone lost to cancer.
At the opening of the ceremony, Dean said “these luminaries, burning brightly, honour the memory of someone who could not be here tonight.”
Though the night turned into a wet and stormy one as time went on, come 7 a.m. dedicated participants could still be seen circling the track, albeit a bit wet and weary from the effort.