Mount Baker students have taken it upon themselves to bring Relay for Life back to the community of Cranbrook. On Friday, June 8 from 12:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. at the Mount Baker fields, the first Relay For Life in Cranbrook for several years will take place.
The Relay, as described by its website, takes the form of a festival-like event, in which teams who register ahead of time take turns walking around a track or designated path. Each team is required to have at least one member on the track at all times throughout the nine-hour event to symbolize the ongoing fight against cancer.
The group initially set out to raise $5,000 but they are also now looking for sponsorship, as they ran into an unforeseen cost: the rental of a proper stage, necessary for the event. The cost of paying for the rental, transportation, production and sound costs comes out to around $5,700 so the group is turning to citizens and businesses around Cranbrook for support.
Originally spearheaded by student Karen Feng, who was volunteering for the Cancer Society, she was asked if she would be willing to get a relay going in Cranbrook. She spoke with Jasmine Beaulac, fellow student and one of last year’s Sam Steele Princesses, who got on board right away.
“I had quite a few family members die from cancer,” Beaulac said. “And so when it stopped in Cranbrook it was kind of hard on my family because we took part in the event and so for me to try to help to try to bring it back, bring awareness and raise money to help other families to not lose family members it means a lot to me.”
She added that many of the girls who decided to group together on this initiative had also lost loved ones to cancer.
“We had one girl, her aunt just died two weeks ago of cancer and then another girl’s grandma died last year from a brain tumour. So all of us kind of, we all relate to or affected by cancer in some way.”
At a school event during the last week of April, where they brought the idea forth to the student body as a whole, they turned off all the lights and asked everyone to pull out their phones and turn the flashlights on. They began by asking if anyone in the room had been personally diagnosed with cancer, and if they had, to hold up their light.
“There was one or two lights and then we said if you have a family member who’s had cancer, put it up and by the end of asking ways cancer had affected people almost everyone in the school had their flashlights up.”
So far, they have been receiving some smaller donations, but hope to ramp up their efforts. As well as speaking with and distributing letters to various businesses in town, they have also penned a letter to City Council prior to their Monday meeting, to ask for the support of the City of Cranbrook itself.
Many of these girls who are putting this all together are in grade 12 and will be going abroad to university in the fall, including Beaulac who will be heading to university in Germany, but she said she hopes to see grade 11 and 12 students pick up the torch and make the event happen next year and onwards.
“I would love to see it coming back,” she said. “We have currently a couple of grade ten and elevens who are interested in helping out in any way they can so we’re hoping to have that to help us next year to keep it going.”
For more information on how to register teams, or to learn more about the history of Relay For Life, you can contact Beaulac at (250)-919-7022 or email@example.com or search Cranbrook at www.convio.cancer.ca