Once again, Revelstoke came together to make Relay for Life Revelstoke an outstanding success, raising over $60,000 at their June 12 event.
Organizer Cheryl Fry delivered the opening speech to the hundreds on hand: “Yellow signifies victory. Be proud that we have persevered and stood tall and strong in the face of cancer. You bring hope to those currently facing this disease. Be very proud.”
She continued: “Each of us has a story as why we are here. Take a moment to think of the reason that brought you to relay today. You shouldn’t feel alone. There are over 200,000 participants across Canada who will be doing the exact same thing that we are doing here today — standing together for 12 hours to show your support to fight against cancer.
By walking this track today and through the later evening, you are joining forces with nearly four million people world wide who want to save lives.”
Honourary survivor Norma Craft also addressed the crowd. “I don’t dye my hair, I’m 58 years old, and I am a survivor,” she began. “I want to tell everybody that I give thanks to my God everyday for having me be here.”
Craft told the audience she was diagnosed with cancer in 2004 and finished cancer treatments in 2005, but went on to receive many more restorative treatments. “Laughter is how I survived. Being positive and laughing, and I still laugh all the time — ask my friends.”
Her daughter, Erika Holmes, was the honourary caregiver for the 2011 relay. She talked of her mom’s battle with cancer.
“I found strength and determination to make sure I did whatever it took to find out what my mom needed and support her in this journey,” Holmes said.
“After every surgery, I saw what they had done, so my mom could feel comfortable no matter how she needed my help. If she needed to talk, we talked. If she needed to cry, we cried. If she needed silence, we rested. If she needed to laugh, which was her usual, we laughed.”
Holmes said the support provided through funding from events like Relay for Life lessened her burden, allowing her to focus on caring for her mom through the struggle.
“I hope I never have to do it again, but all along the way there was support around and I would do it again if necessary,” Holmes said. “Some say I cared for my mom, but it was her courage that carried me.”
Honourary chairperson Lindy Silano reminded relayers what it was all about. After years of treatment for leukaemia, she told the crowd her doctors had given here the okay to go off medications. Silano said that made it possible to move forward with family plans, and announced she was now midway through her pregnancy. “This [relay] is going to help people for years and years and years, and it’s going to help people right now — neighbours, friends and family, so just remember all the people that you are going to effect. Thank you so much for helping fight back.”