‘Can­cer has touched ev­ery­body’

Kentville Re­lay For Life in­spir­ing hope that can­cer can, will be de­feated

Annapolis Valley Register - - NEWS - BY KIRK STARRATT KINGSCOUNTYNEWS.CA Kirk.starratt@kingscountynews.ca

It’s a time to re­mem­ber and hon­our those who lost the fight and a time to cel­e­brate and help in­spire those who have sur­vived the dis­ease or are still bat­tling can­cer.

The 12th an­nual Canadian Can­cer So­ci­ety Kentville Re­lay For Life was held at Me­mo­rial Park on June 9. At least one mem­ber from each par­tic­i­pat­ing team has to be on the track at any given time, help­ing to il­lus­trate that no one with can­cer has to face the fight alone.

Kentville Re­lay for Life ambassador Rox­anne Poole has taken part of the Kentville event ev­ery year since it be­gan. She said re­lay is one of the big­gest fundrais­ing ini­tia­tives of the Canadian Can­cer So­ci­ety. She knows first-hand how much the so­ci­ety does to help those faced with can­cer.

Poole lost her mother to bowel can­cer 25 years ago and this ex­pe­ri­ence inspired her to get in­volved help­ing the so­ci­ety. Then, 15 years ago, Poole was di­ag­nosed with breast can­cer. The same year, her brother-in-law was di­ag­nosed with lung can­cer.

Poole was can­cer free for 14 years but is now in­volved in an­other bat­tle against breast can­cer. She fin­ished her chemo treat­ments on May 11 and still has 17 ra­di­a­tion treat­ments to go.

Poole said she is happy to be alive and happy to be a part of Re­lay For Life. It means a lot to her to see so many peo­ple giv­ing their time and ef­fort to the cause. She said the love and sup­port for sur­vivors, for those still in­volved in the fight and for those who lost the bat­tle is ev­i­dent at the event.

“I’m try­ing to be proac­tive be­cause, re­ally, that’s what it’s about. Keep up the en­ergy, keep up the good spir­its, be­cause that’s what’s go­ing to get you through a lot of it in all hon­esty,” Poole said.

She hopes that peo­ple attending re­lay who may not have been di­rectly af­fected by can­cer will look around and see the all the sur­vivors mov­ing for­ward and that this will in­still a sense that there is still hope af­ter a can­cer di­ag­no­sis.

Poole main­tains stead­fast hope that all of the fundrais­ing ef­forts are go­ing to lead to a sig­nif­i­cant break­through in re­search, hope­fully sooner than later.

Kentville Re­lay For Life lead­er­ship chair­woman Bon­nie Klein, who has been free of breast can­cer for 12 years, said the event means a lot to sur­vivors such as her­self. She points out that “can­cer has touched ev­ery­body.” Klein said that when it comes to her and her six sisters, three have passed away from can­cer and only one hasn’t been di­rectly af­fected.

She finds the event to be very in­spir­ing, hav­ing at­tended in Kentville ev­ery year since the event’s in­cep­tion.

There were some par­tic­i­pants who un­der­went surgery as lit­tle as one month ago. She said the event is a time for re­mem­brance and hope.

“I hope that the sur­vivors feel that they’re spe­cial, be­cause they cer­tainly are, and I’m hop­ing that they have a sense of hope too be­cause some of them are still fight­ing the bat­tle or they know some­body who is fight­ing the bat­tle within their own fam­ily,” Klein said.

She said it’s in­cred­i­bly im­por­tant from a fundrais­ing per­spec­tive for peo­ple to con­tinue sup­port­ing the event. The money helps sup­port the Canadian Can­cer So­ci­ety’s Camp Good­time for chil­dren fight­ing can­cer.

It also helps sup­port the so­ci­ety’s Lodge That Gives in Hal­i­fax, a fa­cil­ity pro­vid­ing free lodg­ing for peo­ple un­der­go­ing can­cer treat­ments, as well as re­search ini­tia­tives.

The fundrais­ing goal for the 12th an­nual Kentville Re­lay for Life was $60,000, which was sur­passed by a sig­nif­i­cant mar­gin. The tally as of June 10 was $69,796 with more money still to come in.

The top fundrais­ing teams this year were Jim Lamb’s Babes and Boars with $13,780.36 and Pas­tor Tim’s Team with $12,599.60.

Klein said they had 13 teams reg­is­tered this year, or about 200 in­di­vid­u­als par­tic­i­pat­ing. She said par­tic­i­pa­tion is down at Re­lay events across the board, so an ef­fort must be made to put the word out and draw teams back.

To put it into per­spec­tive, the tenth an­niver­sary re­lay in Kentville two years ago drew 37 teams, which Klein said was “ab­so­lutely won­der­ful.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on the Canadian Can­cer So­ci­ety or to make an on­line do­na­tion, visit www.can­cer.ca.

KIRK STARRATT

Kentville Re­lay For Life ambassador Rox­anne Poole and lead­er­ship chair­woman Bon­nie Klein both know first-hand how im­por­tant the an­nual fundraiser is.

KIRK STARRATT

Can­cer sur­vivors make a lap around the ball­field at Me­mo­rial Park as part of the 12th an­nual Kentville Re­lay For Life.

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