Event to be held at Mariners Centre starting on Friday, June 21
By Eric Bourque
With less than a month to go before Yarmouth’s Relay for Life, organizers are heading into the homestretch as they prepare for the 10th edition of the Yarmouth event, an annual fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The relay will be held at the Mariners Centre from 7 p.m. Friday, June 21, to 7 a.m. Saturday, June 22.
“Right now we’re really focusing on team development,” said Mike Smith, chairman of the Yarmouth relay’s organizing committee, who says he wants to hear from people interested in taking part in the relay, whether they’re looking to create a team or join one.
“What we’ve been hearing is that there are people out there who don’t necessarily want to head up a full team, but that they have one or two people who still want to participate, so what we’re doing is we’re forming teams for them,” he said.
Organizers have made some changes to the relay this year, including moving the reception for cancer survivors to 8 p.m. The reception used to be held prior to the relay, Smith said, but it seemed too rushed and so the decision was made to reschedule it.
“We’re hoping that with the reception being from eight to 9:30 that the survivors will stick around for the luminary ceremony, which starts at 10,” Smith said.
Another change this year is the addition of a five-kilometre run/walk that will begin an hour before the relay. Participants will follow a course that starts and finishes at the Mariners Centre. The idea, Smith said, is to have it wrap up basically just in time for the relay to begin.
The relay will start with the survivor lap, followed by the caregivers’ walk and then the regular team relay.
The night’s activity lineup will include musical entertainment, along with various demonstrations (belly dancing, taekwondo, Zumba etc.).
“Of course, we always have a hair-cutting ceremony,” Smith said. “We have a few younger people coming and they’re going to donate their hair (for use as wigs for cancer patients).”
Thanks to good support from the business community, relay organizers have plenty of stuff for what Smith describes as a silent auction type of activity.
This being the 10th year for the Yarmouth area’s Relay for Life, organizers hope to bring back people who have taken part in the relay before, whether they did so as members of teams, as volunteers or as survivors.
Smith notes that there actually are two milestones to commemorate this year – a local one and a national one.
“We want to celebrate the 10th-year anniversary for Yarmouth and then, of course, the 75th anniversary of the cancer society,” he said.
For most of its history, the local relay was held outdoors at the Hebron Recreation Complex. At its new home at the Mariners Centre, the relay is a combined indoor/outdoor event.
Relay teams generally have 10 members. The idea is that each team has at least one person circling the track throughout the night.
Relay for Life events are held throughout Nova Scotia and across Canada. Nationally, relay events in 2012 raised $51 million, the cancer society says.
The Yarmouth relay generated $80,000 a year ago and the fundraising goal this year is $110,000.
Interviewed for this story May 23 – four weeks and a day before the 2013 Yarmouth relay – Smith said the emphasis was on getting more teams for the event. Anyone interested in putting in a team – or being put on one – can contact Smith (740-1009).
“We’re still pushing for teams to sign up,” he said. “We’re just trying to put the word out there.”