On May 1, students from Pierre Elliot Trudeau High School participated in the Relay for Life fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society.
The concept behind Relay for Life is to create awareness around cancer through team walks around a track and festival-like activities. The local high school specifically had activities such as basketball, salsa dancing lessons and the luminary ceremony to recognize those who have been diagnosed or who have died from the disease. Although this was only the second year the school has hosted the event, there were 21 teams registered to participate in the relay race and about 170 people in attendance.
Jonathan Hai, student council external affairs executive, says Relay for Life is a great event to “get youth involved.”
“Cancer is something that has touched every single person here,” he said. “If you talk to anybody, they either know someone who has had cancer or they themselves have been affected by it.”
This year, the school raised more than $8,000 to donate to the cause. Hai said the school’s student council has been planning the event since last November.
“We consider this event one of celebration; one of getting together and realizing how much we have done to help beat cancer,” he said. “All the money we have raised, every drop in the bucket makes it eventually full. There will be a cure, and if we can raise the money to help find the cure even one day sooner, we can save hundreds of lives.”
Student Armaan Tamber raised more than $4,000 on her own this year for the event. She lost her mother to breast cancer when she was nine years old and has been participating in charity runs ever since.
“I’m really excited for this event, I guess just to remember my mom and remember Faith Vincent,” said Tamber. “Faith was a student at this school and she passed away two years ago from cancer, so today I’m really running for her, my mom and every cancer survivor and person who’s been affected by this.”
The student council also invited high school alumni and cancer survivor Caleb Chow to share his personal experience with students and faculty members.
Chow, diagnosed with cancer at the age of 17, said he began noticing symptoms when he started feeling constantly tired. However, it wasn’t until he visited his eye doctor he discovered that he had cancer. Now in his second year of university, Chow is in remission and said he’s “lucky to even be standing here.”
“Being a cancer survivor myself, it was just such an amazing blessing to have this event happen because a lot of people are not very aware of cancer,” said Chow. “My grandfather has passed away from cancer, my mom went through cancer and I have gone through cancer. I really just want more people to understand it.”
Relay for Life is a countrywide initiative in the fight against cancer and, this year, has generated more than $25 million through 415 community events. Visit relayforlife.ca for information.
(Header photo: Relay team “Run like the Winded” poses in front of the track before participating in the relay.)