Iris Pearson, Mary Jane Jackson, Nikki Leyenhorst and Gwen Wall, nurses in the oncology department at the Shuswap Lake General Hospital, formed the Cancer Kicking Chemo Crew team for the Relay for Life and came out to support their patients and friends. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm braves the windy weather to support Relay for Life

Annual event raised over $70,000 in 2018

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.


 

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Sandra Blisken and Byril Kurtz dressed in their best for the survivors’ victory lap at the Relay for Life. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Donna O-Hearn, Barb Weller, Val Lynch and Shannon Dreger put on their funniest faces for the 2018 Relay for Life, bringing a little cheer to the track. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

The survivors’ victory lap, led by members of the RCMP and Royal Canadian Legion, was the first around the track during the 16th annual Relay for Life at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds June 9. The event raised $79,195.95 to support cancer research. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Over 200 participants attended the Relay for Life June 9 at the Salmon Arm Fairgrounds, toughing it out through a brisk and rainy night in support of cancer research and survivors. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Patrick Halligan, who doubles as Elvis Presley by night, showed up to provide some evening entertainment in the form of classic Elvis tunes for relay participants walking late into the night. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

Relay for Life participants begin lighting their luminaries, meant to honour the memory of someone lost to cancer, as the sun set during the 2018 relay. (Jodi Brak/Salmon Arm Observer)

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