UPEI Relay For Life Launches 10th Anniversary Year on PEI

12 March 2011

Charlottetown -

The Canadian Cancer Society’s Relay For Life ran through the night at the UPEI Sports Centre from dusk on Friday to dawn on Saturday. The third annual Relay at UPEI launched the 10th Anniversary year of Relay For Life on PEI, with five more events planned across the province this spring.

Like all Relay For Life events across Canada and around the world, the UPEI event saw teams of 10 to 15 participants devote 12 hours to walking, running and strolling laps of the track (in this case the UPEI Sports Centre) to symbolize victory in the fight against cancer.

Teams representing faculty, students, sports and related organizations combined for a total participation of 101 cancer fighters. Typical of the fighting theme were “The Real Doctors”, “Pirates of the CURE-ibbean” and “Leith-al Victory Against Cancer”.

The event kicked off at 6:00 p.m. Friday evening with the Survivors Reception, demonstrating the Canadian Cancer Society’s increasing success at helping win the fight against cancer. The Relay itself was launched with an Opening Ceremony and Survivors Victory Lap that showed the strength and courage that cancer survivors typically share with others who join this fight.

A highlight of Relay For Life, wherever it’s held is the moving Luminary Ceremony, when candles line the track as night falls, glowing in memory of loved ones lost and in honour of cancer survivors. Luminaries act as beacons lighting the way for teams walking through the night. This year, Dr. Michael Shaver, UPEI Research Professor, spoke to the university community gathered here to join the fight and to help win it.

Dr. Shaver, a two-time cancer survivor himself, told students that they could contribute in two essential ways, “Presence and Voice”. He said that “Just being here is important to your own experience. Your presence is a significant indicator of cancer in our society today.” Dr. Shaver also noted that, “Adding your voices to others in the fight against cancer can be transformative. Perhaps next year, we’ll see twice the number of students taking part. Tell your parents about the advances we are making in cancer research, right here on Prince Edward Island. Tell your friends how we are examining why cancer occurs and how we can shut down pathways to prevent its spread. Tell them how we are developing new treatment methods and new ways to deliver the drugs that will help win the fight against cancer.”

Co-chairs of the UPEI Relay For Life Organizing Committee are Dr. Christian Lacroix, Dean of Science, who has spearheaded the UPEI Relay since its inception and first year student, Kathleen Murphy. Ms. Murphy has been involved in Relay for Life for almost six years, having co-chaired the event in grades 10 through 12 at Kensington Intermediate Senior High School. “Like many people, cancer has come into my family when it is most certainly not welcome,” says Ms. Murphy. “I relay for many people in my family and I have decided to fight with everything I have.”

This year’s Relay For Life at UPEI was successful in raising over $12,600 for the fight against cancer, more than $1,000 for every hour of the event.

With five more Relay For Life events scheduled through May and June, “there’s still time to be part of Relay For Life in PEI by registering a team,” according to Gail MacDonald, Relay For Life Coordinator at the Canadian Cancer Society, PEI Division. People interested in joining the fight can find out more at www.RelayForLIfe.ca or by calling Gail at the Canadian Cancer Society PEI Division at 566 4007.

Relay For Life is the Canadian Cancer Society’s signature event, honouring people who have survived cancer, remembering those who have been lost and raising money to help win the fight against cancer one step at a time. Proceeds from Relay for Life go to fund leading-edge cancer research across Canada, including in Prince Edward, and to support community services that help people living with cancer to win the fight.

The Canadian Cancer Society is a national community-based organization of volunteers whose mission is the eradication of cancer and the enhancement of the quality of life of people living with cancer. When you want to know more about cancer, visit our website www.cancer.ca or call our toll-free, bilingual Cancer Information Service at 1 888 939-3333.

For more information, please contact:

Gail MacDonald

Relay For Life Coordinator

Phone: 902-566-4007