Relay For Life in North York

The past couple of months have been pretty busy on the volunteer front. It’s my second year as an event planning volunteer with the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, I’m helping to recruit teams for Relay For Life in North York. Last week, I visited the event venue along with the rest of the planning committee and as we surveyed the grounds, it hit me; the big day is only two months away.

What is Relay For Life?

Relay For Life is a global movement against cancer, taking place in 20 countries worldwide, including 500 communities across Canada. It’s an inspirational, non-competitive, 12-hour overnight fundraising event that brings family, friends, neighbours and co-workers together to celebrate life and fight cancer.

At the event, teams of 10 people gather with cancer survivors at their local stadium or sports field and take turns walking laps all night. It’s a night filled with laughter, tears, food, fun and most of all, hope.

Why is Relay an overnight event?

Relay For Life symbolizes a cancer patient’s journey. From diagnosis, through days of treatment and the long nights that follow them; cancer never sleeps.

And neither do we.

At Relay, each step taken and each lap completed is a way of showing those battling cancer that they are not alone.

Over the 12-hour period, strangers become friends. It’s a time to share stories. It’s a time to celebrate cancer survivors. It’s a time to remember and honour loved ones lost. It’s a time to fight back against cancer. It’s a time to reflect on our lives and be grateful in the moment and for each and every moment we’re blessed with.

As the sun rises and the event comes to a close, participants vow to keep fighting back against cancer all year long.

If you live in the Toronto area, here’s how you can get involved:

1. Register for Relay For Life in your community

+ Create a team. Grab family members, friends, co-workers and form a team. If you create a team, you’ll automatically become the team captain.

+ Join an existing team.

+ Start fundraising!

2. Make a donation

+ Pledge a participant or a team.

+ Make a general donation.

3. Buy a luminary

What’s a luminary?

Luminaries are candles that are placed in flame retardant bags that bear the names of cancer survivors or loved ones we’ve lost to cancer.

+ You can purchase luminaries at the event, at your local Canadian Cancer Society office, or online prior to the event.

+ At each Relay For Life event, luminaries are lit during a ceremony at dusk. Your luminary will provide light and serve as a beacon of hope for the participants all night long as they walk around the track.

+ For safety reasons, we usually ask fire fighters from the local fire department to be on hand to light the luminaries at the event.

4. Volunteer on event day

+ Help out at the registration table

+ Help out at the cancer information tent

+ Serve food at the event

+ Help with site set-up or take-down

Interested in volunteering? Visit the Relay For Life page for the complete list of volunteer opportunities and fill out an application form.

Relay For Life North York Event Day details:

Esther Shiner Stadium

Toronto, Ontario

Friday June 20th

7 p.m. – 7 a.m.

Interested in joining the fight? Visit the Relay For Life page and register your team today.

I’ll leave you with this moving video:

Celebrate. Remember. Fight back.


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