The Brock Relay for Life was hosted once again in the Ian Beddis Gymnasium in an effort to raise funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
Relay for Life is the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature fundraising event that has taken place for the past 20 years. Brock’s relay took the form of a 12-hour overnight party that started at 7:00 p.m. on March 22 and ran until 7:00 a.m. the following morning. The event sought to provide a place for people to come together with friends and family to celebrate those who have lost their battles with cancer, and the lives of those who have been affected by cancer.
Fourth-year Concurrent Education student and co-chair of Brock`s Relay for Life, Mikayla Robertson, has been relaying since grade eight, but has only been a part of Brock Relay for two years.
“I Relay so Canadians do not have the fear the word cancer, so no person has watch a loved one [suffer],” said Robertson. “Most importantly, I relay for those in my life who have lost their battle and those who have survived it.”
This year’s Relay was themed as The Game of Life so a lot of the events that took place revolved around that theme. For the entertainment segment of the night participants were able to enjoy Family Feud, Don’t Forget the Lyrics, Karaoke, the Game of Life, Car Races and a Hair Donation where Roberts personally cut 12 inches of her hair. Other activities during this segment included themed laps and a visit from St. John’s Ambulance Therapy Dogs. Throughout the night, attendees were able to receive coffee and hot chocolate from a sponsored Tim Horton’s Truck outside the gym and tea from David’s Tea brewers.
The most important event of the night was the luminary ceremony that took place promptly at 11:00 p.m., which saw the track inside the gym lined with luminary bags decorated with personal messages and the lights dimmed. At that time, all participants took a moment to commemorate those they have lost, those who are still fighting and those who are survivors of cancer. The highlight of the ceremony came in the form of the unique opportunity to hear the survival story from a third-year Brock student who has struggled with cancer.
According to Roberts, Relay for Life has been happening at Brock for nine years and has been successful at continually meeting and exceeding its financial goals. Last year $37,000 was raised with an original goal of $35,000. This year, the committee reluctantly decided to increase the goal to $50,000 on advice from the Canadian Cancer Society representative assigned to the group.
“When Mikayla [Hepburn], (the other co-chair of the event), and I were counting up all of the offline money raised at the event to get our overall total, we both looked at the number and were shocked. We knew that we were going to hit the $50,000 goal but seeing that we raised an additional $8,000 we both were out of words and overjoyed. We rolled out our giant cheque at 6:00 a.m. on March 23 announcing that we raised $58,008.66,” said Roberts.
This year was Brock’s biggest Relay event with 302 participants, an almost 20 per cent increase in participation over last year’s event. As a result, Brock University Relay for Life was recognized as the fifth highest fundraised post-secondary event out of other events held at over 15 other participating post-secondary institutions across Canada.
Roberts remains thankful for the support that the Relay sees year after year. “On behalf of the Relay for Life Committee, Mikayla [Hepburn] and I would like to say a big thank you to all of our sponsors for the event, our volunteers, anyone who donated and all of the participants,” said Roberts. “Thank you for taking that step closer to eradicate and be bigger than cancer.”
“Relay allows every participant to recognize that they are not alone and celebrate all the good, happy and sad memories. Every person in that gym tonight was there because they know someone, or they have battled themselves. Relay allows you to see the impact that we can have as we work together to change the outcome of a cancer diagnosis,” said Roberts.
Students interested in becoming involved with the Relay for Life committee for the upcoming 2019/2020 academic year are encouraged to email Mikayla Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Roberts will then follow up with an email detailing the application process to join the committee.