Students reflect on a night of remembrance, hope, and community
On March 15, members of StFX and its surrounding communities gathered for a night of hope, support, and celebration of life. Relay for Life had taken over the Oland Centre and hosted hundreds of participants all working towards an excellent cause; bring awareness to the effect’s cancer has on the lives of Canadians.
An international event, Relay for Life has been the Canadian Cancer Society’s primary fundraising event for 20 years. Typically, at Relay, you will find participants walking around a designated track for the entirety of the night. At least one member of each team must be walking the track at all times. This symbolizes how in more ways than one, we are all affected by cancer in our lifetime.
Relay for Life throughout the years has successfully conveyed across the world the idea that no battle should be faced alone. Wherever you are and whoever you are, by participating in Relay for Life you are following in the footsteps of thousands of others who have walked them before. Relay for Life is a key player in bringing change to the future of cancer research and awareness.
StFX’s Relay for Life was organized this year by students Hannah Greene and Elizabeth Talbot. Elizabeth can also be noted as the top participant of the event, who brought more than one thousand dollars of donations to the event. Another noteworthy contributor to the event was the team “Kids Against Cancer.” This team brought in an incredible $2,208.65 to 2019’s Relay for Life event. These kids shared a heartfelt speech at the beginning of the event and showed tremendous amounts of poise, courage, and wisdom.
A number of participants had many positive comments to make about this year’s event, including third year finance student, Clare Ross. “I think the success of the night was based on the people that came out to the event and all had someone they were thinking about! It’s so important to notice that every luminary that lined the track was for someone that is battling cancer or someone that lost the battle!” Clare, who has volunteered at the event for her three years at StFX, continued to explain the importance of uniting as a community for a good purpose. “In theory it’s sad but at the end of it all we’re all coming together to take a step towards decreasing the amount of individuals losing their own battle!”
“Relay went really well this year and we reached our goal as a school. Personally, Relay means a lot to me because it’s a time to honour the memory of my grandfather and my uncle who both passed away from cancer. This year especially meant a lot because my boyfriend Lucas cut his hair in honour of my uncle,” Said Reed Wigglesworth, a fourth year marketing student. “In my first year after I did Relay, Lucas told me that was his plan and it seemed so far away. For it to finally come about and happen feels surreal really.”
Reed’s boyfriend, Lucas Restrepo, cut and donated over one foot of his hair. “I always get very emotional at Relay but this year it was amazing to have Lucas with me and a team of amazing friends. It’s such an important event and I’m so proud that StFX hosts it on campus.”
Other members of Reed’s team cared to comment further about the experience. “This was the first year I had participated in Relay for Life at StFX and I was blown away by how many people were there, how much money was raised, and the overall enthusiasm that lasted the entire event!” said Claire Keenan, fourth year forensic psychology student. “It was evident that this event was close to many hearts and the luminary ceremony was very touching to witness. Another highlight was seeing just how many people were willing to donate their hair, and even go so far as to shave their heads, all in the name of raising money for cancer research!”
Another volunteer at this year’s Relay for Life was Sam Bardwell, as third year science student. She began by explaining the event’s importance to her. “Relay for Life is an event that is very important to me and always has been. I think everyone has been impacted by cancer in some way or another, so I know this is an event meaningful to so many more people than just me.” She echoed Claire Keenan’s sentiments regarding the success of the night. “It was amazing to see so many people from StFX come out to show their support. We had about 250 participants and ended up raising over $31,000! We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout and I know the rest of the committee is equally as proud of what was accomplished.”