Brenda Baumeister is an organizer for the event and the current top fundraiser this year, having raised over $4,000 so far. She explains that this year, the hope is to get encourage cancer survivors, or “Heroes of Hope”, to take part in the event, which begins with a survivor’s lap. That includes people currently battling the disease.
“We want to remind all of our survivors and area – and I know we have a lot – please come down for the day,” she asks. “The beginning part of it is for you. We want to be able to give you support and show how much we care.”
One of the survivors that will be at the event is country singer Sean Hogan, who will perform at 3:30 p.m. Hogan was diagnosed with stage four cancer in his throat, but after radiation and chemotherapy treatment has emerged cancer-free. Last year was his first Relay for Life as a cancer survivor in Sudbury, Ontario, and he says he’s privileged to take part in the Relay for Life in Fort St. John this year.
“Let’s just say it’s a good thing it was raining last year,” he jokes. “It’s very emotional. It was very much a moving experience. So many people I don’t know, but we all have this in common.”
Registration for the event is closed, but both Hogan and Baumeister encourage anybody wanting to take part to join in.
“People survive cancer, people pass away from cancer, and it affects so many of us. It’s a very worthwhile event,” says Hogan. “It’s heartfelt and I think people should come out and be part of it.”
The evening concludes with a luminary ceremony from 11 p.m. to 12 p.m., in honour of those fighting cancer or who have lost their battle. Luminary candles are placed in bags with the names of loved ones and are placed around the track.