Sackville’s Re­lay for Life moved to March

Event will be led by stu­dent com­mit­tee, but will be open to en­tire com­mu­nity


Oc­to­ber is a month known for pump­kin carv­ing, ap­ple pick­ing, Thanks­giv­ing and Hal­loween.

In the Tantra­mar re­gion, the Sackville- Mount Al­li­son Re­lay for Life was also usu­ally at the top of that list. But not this year.

The lo­cal Re­lay for Life has been post­poned from its orig­i­nal fall date un­til March 2019 as or­ga­niz­ers at­tempt a new for­mat and try to reen­er­gize the event.

Ja­son Thorpe, the Mar­itime Re­lay for Life youth co­or­di­na­tor of the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety, said af­ter con­sult­ing with the univer­sity and com­mu­nity stake­hold­ers pre­vi­ously in­volved in the event, it was de­cided to resched­ule the Re­lay so it would co­in­cide with other post-se­condary events through­out At­lantic Canada.

“So the main rea­son is to align the event with other events that hap­pen in At­lantic Canada,” said Thorpe.

He said both St FX Univer­sity/ Antigo­nish and Aca­dia Univer­sity/wolfville host their Re­lays in March each year, which have proven suc­cess­ful. St FX, for ex­am­ple, has an en­thu­si­as­tic and large stu­dent com­mit­tee that or­ga­nizes the event each year, con­sist­ing of 40 mem­bers.

Thorpe said the Sackville Re­lay will now be fully or­ga­nized and led by a stu­dent com­mit­tee, sim­i­lar to how the event works in the other univer­sity towns. He said this idea was pro­posed to the pre­vi­ous or­ga­niz­ing com­mit­tee, a mix of com­mu­nity mem­bers and stu­dents, and it was well re­ceived.

“Ev­ery­body is all for it,” he said.

Thorpe said the new stu­dent com­mit­tee will be lean­ing on for­mer or­ga­niz­ers, at least in the first year or two, for in­put and sug­ges­tions as they have the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence for putting to­gether the Re­lay.

And he re­it­er­ated that the Re­lay it­self will be com­pletely open to par­tic­i­pa­tion from the com­mu­nity.

Thorpe said stu­dents will re­ceive train­ing and sup­port from the Re­lay for Life youth team, with a cou­ple even se­lected to go on a lead­er­ship re­treat later this month with other At­lantic Cana­dian youth.

As the stu­dents gain more aware­ness of the Re­lay and its im­por­tance, the hope is they will in­crease en­gage­ment on cam­pus, said Thorpe.

“We’re try­ing to get more stu­dent in­volve­ment.”

The Mount Al­li­son com­mit­tee al­ready con­sists of about a dozen stu­dents and Thorpe be­lieves more will jump on board over the next cou­ple of months.

The Re­lay will still re­tain some of its orig­i­nal el­e­ments, such as the open­ing cer­e­mony, the sur­vivors’ lap, the lu­mi­nary cer­e­mony and a clos­ing cer­e­mony. But what hap­pens in be­tween will be up to the com­mit­tee, said Thorpe.

Each univer­sity se­lects the dif­fer­ent fun ac­tiv­i­ties and ed­u­ca­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties that will take place, as well as pos­si­ble ven­dors, the time and date, and the fa­cil­ity.

Thorpe said he’s seen a range of events take place dur­ing the Re­lay – from swim­ming at a lo­cal pool to skat­ing at a lo­cal rink or minute-to-win-it games. And it will be up to the stu­dents to de­ter­mine what will best suit their com­mu­nity.

“We want to tailor it to ev­ery­body.”

This year will mark the 15th an­niver­sary of the Sackville Re­lay for Life and Thorpe said he hopes this new for­mat will still serve as a “great op­por­tu­nity to bring the univer­sity and the com­mu­nity to­gether.” He an­tic­i­pates the first year will start out as a six-hour event but could ex­pand later, once the ground­work has been laid.

“We’re re­ally ex­cited to get go­ing.”

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