Re­lay for Life raises $80,000

Friends and fam­ily fight­ing can­cer in­creases par­tic­i­pa­tion for some groups

The Compass - - NEWS - BYMELISSA JENK­INS Melissa.jenk­

Paddy’s Gar­den in Car­bon­ear was alive with the sounds of laugh­ter, mu­sic and chat­ter dur­ing the af­ter­noon of the 10th an­nual Re­lay for Life that took place Satur­day, Sept. 7.

Dozens of par­tic­i­pants of all ages from Con­cep­tion Bay North gath­ered un­der white tents to be­gin a twelve-hour re­lay on the track at the Car­bon­ear Recre­ation Com­plex to raise money for the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety.

Ac­cord­ing to the so­ci­ety’s web­site, each team must have one per­son walk­ing along the track at all times dur­ing the event while the re­main­der are en­ter­tained with mu­sic and games.

Of­fi­cials with the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety con­firm the to­tal raised was on par with last year’s to­tal of $80,000.

Teens of Hope

In 2009 when Matthew Shep­pard of Spa­niard’s Bay was 14 years old, he or­ga­nized a team of 11 teenagers to par­tic­i­pate in the re­lay. They called them­selves the “Teen Team.”

The team was cre­ated only three weeks be­fore the event, but they still man­aged to col­lect some $900 for the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

They even­tu­ally changed the name to “Teens of Hope,” which Shep­pard said came from the “pop­u­lar sparkles of hope bracelets” that were re­leased in 2010.

“The sec­ond year we had 20 mem­bers and raised around $4,300,” Shep­pard told The Com­pass in a phone in­ter­view. “Then last year we dou­bled to 40 mem­bers and raised a lit­tle over $9,200.”

In four years the team has quadru­pled in size. It now has 47 mem­bers.

For the past three years the team has re­ceived ac­knowl­edg­ment for their fundrais­ing ef­forts, and for good rea­son — this year’s to­tal sur­passed $11,400.

“We set a team goal this year for $10,000 be­cause at last year’s re­lay the com­mit­tee asked us to try for it for their 10th lo­cal Re­lay for Life an­niver­sary,” Shep­pard said.

Mem­bers of the team are Janelle Bishop, Emily Crum­mey, Sarah Dawe, Dou­glas Ak­er­man, De­siree Bow­er­ing, Danielle Bow­er­ing, Kelsey Gilling­ham, Jenna Pham, Kelsey Brad­bury, Mitchell Dob­bin, An­drew Mercer, Lu­cas Roberts, Han­nah Kear­ley, Court­ney McDon­ald, Rebecca French, Holly Bartlett, Robyn Pike, Emily Mercer, Bri­anna Neil, Katie Power, Ni­cole Smith, Matthew Shep­pard, Emily J Ped­dle, Bri­anne Fowler, Hi­lary Paul, Meagan Tucker, Sab­rina Neil, Gavin Mercer, Alexan­dria Bur­ton, Kayla Pet­ten, Vic­to­ria Smith, Brady Bar­rett, Emily D Ped­dle, Alexan­dra Wells, Danielle St. Croix, Sab­rina Mercer, Jessie Fewer, Emily Pen­ney, Toni Jer­rett, Jared Pet­ten, Amy Bar­rett, Tiffany Janes, Caro­line Reid, Kristen Adams, Shan­non Ma­honey, Emily Vokey and Vic­to­ria Bishop.

Ev­ery­one has a story

Can­cer is a dis­ease that al­most ev­ery­one has a con­nec­tion to, one way or an­other. Ev­ery­one who is af­fected, ei­ther per­son­ally or in­di­vid­u­ally, has a story. Shep­pard has his own story that keeps him mo­ti­vated to keep his team go­ing.

“I started the team four years ago be­cause I lost my mother (Wanda Shep­pard), who was my best friend, to Hodgkin’s Lym­phoma,” he ex­plained. “She suf­fered through a nine-and-a-half year bat­tle and she is most def­i­nitely my great­est hero.”

Shep­pard, who is in his first year at Me­mo­rial Univer­sity, has seen his grand­fa­ther, Gor­don Shep­pard, fight a bat­tle with can­cer as well.

His grand­fa­ther beat his fight with prostate can­cer, but he still looks at him as a rea­son to find a cure. He said he also com­pletes the re­lay for his teacher, great-grand­fa­ther, great-aunts and fam­ily friends.

Mem­bers of the “Teens of Hope” team had their own in­spi­ra­tion and an­nounced each one on their Tshirts. Grand­mother, sis­ter, un­cle, cousin and even friend and neigh­bour were printed on the back to re­mem­ber the can­cer strug­gles th­ese loved ones en­coun­tered and to re­mind them of why they are par­tic­i­pat­ing. Some had four or more names on their shirts.

Each shirt was a dif­fer­ent colour to rep­re­sent the dif­fer­ent coloured can­cer aware­ness rib­bons.

Shep­pard’s was lime green for lym­phoma.

The team par­tic­i­pated for a cure and hoped their con­tri­bu­tions would help make that a re­al­ity some day.

“My wish is that even­tu­ally no lit­tle boy or girl needs to grow up with­out their mom or dad, or any­one else be­cause of can­cer,” Shep­pard said. “My mother missed out on a lot of im­por­tant things in my life be­cause of can­cer.”

Teena is a sur­vivor

Be­sides the Teens of Hope team, the Cana­dian Can­cer So­ci­ety ac­knowl­edged two other in­di­vid­u­als for their ef­forts.

Deb­bie Pen­ney from Cee­Bees Bingo raised over $3,000, earn­ing her the top in­di­vid­ual fundraiser award. She re­ceived the same award last year with $2,600.

An­other fundraiser that re­ceived spe­cial ac­knowl­edg­ment from the so­ci­ety was Teena Swain, a mem­ber of the White Scor­pion Tat­toos team from Car­bon­ear. She helped raise over $2,000 with the team while bat­tling melanoma.

In a mes­sage writ­ten to the so­ci­ety, the Scor­pion’s team said Teena had re­cently un­der­gone 10 ses­sions of ra­di­a­tion on her brain due to a tu­mour and had two brain surg­eries in the past year.

“Last year our team was 12 mem­bers with six sur­vivors,” it read. “This year was 35 mem­bers with six sur­vivors.”

“Teena and other sur­vivors on our team are the rea­son we need to be do­ing the re­lay so it will be­come a vic­tory walk one day in­stead of a walk of hope.”

The team has raised over $12,000 in the past two years.

Sub­mit­ted pho­tos

The Teens of Hope group at the Re­lay for Life event con­sisted of 47 mem­bers who raised a com­bined to­tal of more than $11,400.

Teena Swain was a mem­ber of the White Scor­pion Tat­toos team who raised some $2,000. She has re­cently un­der­gone ra­di­a­tion on her brain for tu­mours, but still elected to par­tic­i­pate in the re­lay.

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