Penticton fundraiser sees steep decline in donations

Survivorship team members put up a paddle arch to send off the survivor’s lap at Saturday’s Relay for Life in Penticton.  - Photography by Wolf Borowski
Survivorship team members put up a paddle arch to send off the survivor’s lap at Saturday’s Relay for Life in Penticton.
— image credit: Photography by Wolf Borowski

Donations to the Relay for Life fundraiser in Penticton were down by nearly half this year, mirroring a trend the organizer said has been noticed by many non-profits.

“People are just too darn busy,” said Chantel Reems, a community giving co-ordinator for the Canadian Cancer Society.

“There are so many causes, so many events, and people just kind of get (confused) as to what to do, who to give to, all that kind of stuff.

“That’s my personal opinion on it.”

Nonetheless, the 10th annual relay here saw 253 participants on 34 teams set out at 6 p.m. on Saturday to do laps of the Penticton Secondary School track for 12 hours straight, while another 30 people volunteered to help keep the event in stride.

Their efforts brought in donations totalling approximately $33,000, down from about $56,000 in 2013.

“It was a ton of fun,” said Reems, who recorded her eighth year of involvement.

“It didn’t rain, which was lovely, and everybody really seemed to have a good time.”

The crew from Enamel Dental Centre was the top fundraiser with a total of $3,957.

Team captain Kristina Consolo said it was the first time the clinic entered a team, and she led the effort after receiving a call about the event from the Canadian Cancer Society.

“I thought it was a really great cause,” she said. “A lot of our team member have family members affected by cancer.”

Consolo was at a loss to explain her group’s fundraising success.

“Beginner’s luck, maybe?” she said with a laugh, adding, “Our family and friends were really supportive.”

RBC Cares brought in the second highest total with $2,870, followed by Cruisin for a Cure at $2,240, Team Kutschera at $2,055 and Curesaders at $1,900.

Reems said all of the donations stay within B.C. to help fund things like the Canadian Cancer Society branch office here in Penticton and a ride service that transports patients to treatment in Kelowna, plus programs with broader reach such as online educational resources.

Last year, 16,224 relay teams across Canada raised a total of $46.5 million, according to the society.


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